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Manchester Previews - UEFA Women’s EURO 2022

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Euro 2022: What to look out for in this year’s tournament

With the Lionesses kicking off this year’s Euros tonight at Old Trafford we preview the tournament, make some predictions and rate England’s chances of winning it all.

Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

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It all comes down to this

It may not be long until Sunderland embark upon their pre-season but if you’re anything like me you’ll already be missing the football. Tennis is great and all but let's face it, nothing compares to the beautiful game.

So months of preparation, squad selections, friendlies and sold out tickets have finally brought us to the opening day of the Women’s Euros 2022. The first game will be our very own England vs Austria at Old Trafford with excitement, and expectations, around the lionesses at an all-time high.

Here we will preview the tournament and highlight a few things to look out for when things kick off tonight at 8pm.

Manchester Previews - UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images

Who are the favourites?

Well at the moment most bookies have Spain as tournament favourites. They’re ranked 7th in the world and have been producing some wonderful players domestically as proven by the extraordinary Barcelona team who last year put Chelsea to the sword in the Champions League final.

Their star player is Ballon D’or winner Alexia Putellas however on Tuesday news broke that she has sprained her knee, threatening her participation in the tournament. This is undoubtedly a huge blow to Spain and a great shame to see one of the game’s brightest stars miss one of its biggest stages.

England are second favourites and boast great strength in depth, particularly in attacking areas, and will be hoping the sold out home crowds will pull them through to the latter stages.

2022 European Women’s Football Championship - Brentford Community Stadium Photo by Sebastian Gollnow/picture alliance via Getty Images

England’s group

As mentioned earlier the tournament opener is England vs Austria. The Austrians are ranked 21st in the world so will be no push overs however the form England are carrying into this game they’ll fancy their chances of getting off to a good start. You can read match reports of the Lionesses last two games here and here.

England’s second group game, and arguably the toughest, is against 11th ranked Norway. The two teams last faced each other back in 2014 so they’ll be relatively unfamiliar with each other.

One player they’ll definitely be aware of however is Ada Hegerberg. Formally voted the best player in the world she stepped down from international duty in protest to how the Norwegian FA treated the women’s game but earlier this year she ended her exile and her presence alone make the Norwegians a threat.

Last but not least its Northern Ireland. The lowest ranked team in the tournament will be looking to make a name for themselves after qualifying for their first ever major tournament.

FBL-WC-2023-WOMEN-NIR-ENG-QUALIFIER Photo by PAUL FAITH/AFP via Getty Images

Former Sunderland players to look out for

Sunderland can boast a proud history of developing players for the national team and Sarina Wiegman’s current 23 is no exception. Here are the lasses to keep an eye on.

Lucy Bronze

One of the most successful players in the women’s game today started her youth career with Sunderland. Originally from Berwick-Upon-Tweed, Bronze has gone on to win multiple domestic trophies with Manchester City and Lyon as well as three French league titles and three champions leagues.

She wasn’t just a bit-part player either, in 2020 she won FIFAs “The Best” award and boasts an individual honours list that’s too long to include here but rest assured if she’s fit, the right-back starts for England.

Beth Mead

Meado has been one of the most exciting players in WSL this season and has carried on that form in an England shirt. Although not from Sunderland itself she is one of our best academy products even this early in her career. Hopefully, she can stave off the claim of Chloe Kelly to a place in the starting 11 but don’t be surprised to see her play an important part in any success England have this summer.

England v Austria: Group D - FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Qualifier Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus

Demi Stokes

Left back Demi Stokes made 42 appearances for us after coming through the academy and before studying for her degree in Canada. Since graduating she has been a mainstay for perennial title-chasers Manchester City and will be hoping to add to her 67 caps.

Jill Scott

157 caps so far for England (only one person has more), three time FA cup winner, WSL winner and multiple other domestic trophies. Rumours are about that Jill might be considering retirement after this summer’s tournament (although her late goal against Switzerland recently suggests she still has plenty to offer). If she does decide to close the book on her international career it will be one that she, her family and Sunderland supporters can be oh so very proud of.

Plus: Sarah Robson & Rachel Furness of Northern Ireland

England Team Visit Nike HQ Photo by Lynne Cameron - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Our semi-final and winners predictions

Chris says: England v Sweden and Netherlands v Germany

Sweden, France, Netherlands and Germany are the top ranked sides in the tournament however Spain and England are the bookies favourites. I think the Dutch side England dismantled 5-1 the other week will be stronger and with the bit between their teeth will surprise us. They’ll face Germany who I just reckon will do well cause they’re German.

England have the home crowd a such a strong team while number 2 in the world Sweden will prove a very tough opponent. Ultimately though I believe in the Lionesses and think they’ll overcome Germany in the final.

Graeme says: England v Sweden and France v Spain

I think France will win the tournament. They’ve got their problems with squad morale, but they’re a good side. Hopefully, England will win it and we’ve obviously got home advantage too. I’m going for France though, as I think the pressure might be too much in the semi final for the Lionesses. I hope I’m wrong.

Rich says: England v Sweden and France v Germany

I’ve got to go with England as the winners. The momentum is with us, and as good as France and Sweden are, and as experienced and tournament hardened as the Germans might be, I believe the home crowd and strength in depth will take us all the way.

France are a bit of a mess. Alexia Putellas being out for Spain I think will be decisive in the group of death. The Netherlands may get through to the semis but looked well below our level in the warm-up games. Oh, and Norway have too many weaknesses at the back.

England Team Visit Nike HQ Photo by Lynne Cameron - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

Ant says: England v Sweden and France v Spain

Alexia Putellas pretty much ruled out of the tournament is massive for Spain and had changed my mind on the winners. I think England will do it. Lauren Hemp will set the tournament alight.

France v England final with England winning.

Charlotte says: England v Sweden and France v Germany

I originally had gone with Spain over Germany, however with the news about Alexi Putellas being ruled out of the competition and the way Spain performed in the lead-up to the euros,

I’m going to side with Germany. Although some honourable mentions to Denmark and Norway who could also very easily reach the semis too. It will be very dependent on how teams play on the day, as I truly believe anyone can beat anyone.

I think Sweden will win it, as much as it pains me. They’ve got an incredibly talented team with the likes of veteran arsenal goalkeeper Lindahl, Chelsea defender Eriksson and Arsenal forward Blackstenius. As well as the calibre of talent in their repertoire, they have also improved year on year.

I was very impressed with in the Olympics last year and despite finishing second and claiming a silver medal, I felt like Sweden were empathic and deserved the gold. They will likely use that to fuel them in this tournament and are my favourites to win it. However, given the home advantage, there would be no better time for England to win the Euros and may well be carried by the occasion and crowd. So who knows, maybe they’ll spoil the Swedish party.

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