Euro 2022 (videos)

Since Fifa has opted for Qatar and thus deprived us of a men's World Cup in the summer, it is the Women's Euro that will set the pace in July, after a year's wait following the postponement caused by the coronavirus crisis.

But which nation will take the European laurels? England, via a first home victory? Germany, by activating the mode reconquest after having monopolized the titles between 1995 and 2013? The Netherlands, to continue their domination of the Old Continent which began in 2017? Spain, to confirm the Iberian rise to power in women's football? France, despite the bickering in the French dressing room? Or the Scandinavian nations (Denmark, Sweden, Norway)? Never before has a Women's Euro been so open with only a few weeks to go.

Europe on Iberian time?

Of the sixteen teams represented, half can more or less realistically claim a continental title. But it is perhaps Spain that will be the most important to watch. “La Roja”, ranked seventh in the Fifa world rankings, is one of the teams that have made the most progress over the last decade. The Spanish squad is built around a team that is largely derived from Barcelona, and can count on the all-round vision of midfielder Alexia Putellas, the 2021 Golden Ball winner and currently the best player in the world. The fact that the 28-year-old left-hander is the star of the team speaks volumes about her strength. It is the collective play that the Catalan embodies that makes Spain so formidable. And puts the team among the favourites for the tournament, three years after they gave the USA a famous run for their money in the round of 16 of the 2019 Women's World Cup.

England at home?

In truth, we are already excited at the idea of a (potential) final against England, a team that has hired Dutchwoman Sarina Wiegman, the architect of the Oranje Leeuwinnen's success in recent years, to try to finally hang on to a first title. With the talent in its ranks, combined with its status as host, England is inevitably among the serious contenders for the final victory. And even if Chelsea striker Fran Kirby, who surprised the world of women's football by announcing that she was putting her career on hold for health reasons, might not be among them. So might Manchester City defender Stephanie Houghton, who has a Achille tendon injury.

Despite these (as yet unconfirmed) absences, the Three Lionesses have a lot to offer. The experience of 'old hands' Ellen White, Jill Scott and Lucy Bronze (more than 300 caps between them), as well as the leadership of Leah Williamson (Arsenal), recently appointed captain of the English national team, come to mind. The team will be keen to challenge the reputation of the English as “eternal challenger”, inventors of the game, but whose last (and only) success in an international tournament was the 1966 World Cup for men.

The orange light

How will the Netherlands cope with the end of the Wiegman era? Not necessarily at ease against the big teams (defeat in France in February, for example), second in their 2023 World Cup qualifying group, the Dutch are not exactly brimming with confidence. But with such a strong line-up (Miedema, Martens, Jackie Groenen, Sherida Spitse, Sari van Venendaal and many more), we will have to deal with our neighbours! Especially when you know their ability to sublimate themselves in tournaments.

Whatever their recent results, there is nothing dishonourable about them. Especially when you know that the team was taken over in September 2021 by Englishman Mark Parsons, who considers himself a "builder" and will therefore need some time to put his stamp on his squad. Above all, they promise a Netherlands that is hungry for revenge and eager to retain the title it won at home five years ago. And so much the better.

And the others

Seeing the big nations compete on the continent's most beautiful stage is the best possible promotion for women's football, a sport that is constantly growing. And perhaps the discipline with the greatest economic, public and sporting potential today.

This also applies indeed to the French, Swedish, Danish, German etc. Not forgetting the Belgians, who will have their second Euro experience in a row, after their first participation in 2017. At that tournament, the Red Flames of Tessa Wullaert and Janice Cayman caused a sensation by beating Ada Hegerberg's Norway (back in the national team this year after a five-year absence), before falling with honours to the future champions, the Netherlands. In other words, the Flames will be as motivated as ever at the idea of "pulling off a coup", in a group where they will be up against Iceland, France and Italy. A tough programme!

The public is expected to flock to the event

As far as the public is concerned, all the indicators are green for the moment. Thus, a few weeks before the start of Euro 2022, the record number of tickets sold for the previous edition has already been broken (350,000 compared to 240,000 five years ago). In short, we can expect the stadiums to be fuller than for the 2019 World Cup (74% on average in the nine host cities).

The hostilities will begin at Old Trafford for the match between England and Austria. This is an interesting match that is sold out at Manchester United's home ground. The final match of the tournament will be played at Wembley (London), a magnificent venue. If you still don't have a ticket, you will unfortunately not be able to attend. The reason? All of the 90,000 tickets still available for the final were sold out in... 43 minutes during the sales phase organised on the D-day minus 100 of the Euro.

This means that the atmosphere in the eight host cities is likely to be overheated. Especially when you know how good the English are at setting things alight when it comes to football...

A unique experience

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