Who are the favourites to win Women’s Euro 2022? England, France, Spain...
Ahead of the 2022 European Women’s Championship, which gets underway in England on 6 July, AS’ Aimara Gil takes a look at some of the key contenders.
There are a just a couple of days left before the curtain opens on the 2022 European Women’s Championship in England, and there are many candidates to lift the continental title. In total, 16 teams will fight for the trophy, but only one will taste glory at Wembley on 31 July. Here is a look at the favourites to win the Euros.
England are being heavily tipped to win the first European Championship in their history. Sarina Wiegman’s side are eighth in the FIFA world rankings, but they have an important factor working in their favour: home advantage. The country is right behind its women’s team and that will be a plus for the hosts. The coach, who led the Netherlands to the title five years ago, has a hard-working team with world stars like Fran Kirby, Ellen White, Lucy Bronze and Georgia Stanway. A compact team that has been working for a month with an obsessive focus on securing their first major title.
Always contenders, but so far never winners. On paper, France have a great team: Renard, Mbook, Bacha, Diani, Katoto, Cascarino, Malard... However, although they have had a very recognisable spine for years, they are yet to make the most of their talent to achieve major success on the big stage - except at age-group level, where they have won several titles. The third best team in the world according to the FIFA world rankings, the French tend to sweep through qualifying, but are as yet out of luck in the final phases. Corinne Diacre, France’s head coach, will have to spend plenty of time working on the psychological side of things.
Runners-up at the Olympics and third at the last World Cup, the Swedes never attract attention, but are always in the final shake-up. A group of players that have been together for years, they are currently the second-best team in the world according to the FIFA rankings - and the best in Europe. The likes of Asllani, Jakobsson, Lindahl, Seger, Eriksson and Sembrat bring experience to a team that also boasts new stars like Blackstenius, Hurtig and Blomqvist. A team that wants to take that final step and win a major international title.
The Norwegians want to reign in Europe again - and their chances have been boosted by the return of Ada Hegerberg, the best player in the world three seasons ago. The 2018 Ballon d’Or winner left the national team over equality issues, but her comeback to the fold adds something extra to a team that also has players like Graham Hansen, Engen, Reiten and Maanum. Eleventh in the FIFA world rankings, they know that in a championship played in single-game format, they can cause a surprise.
The most competitive team in the world. They’re perhaps not going through their best period and, in addition, go into the tournament with important players missing, such as Maroszán and Leupold. But even so, Germany always compete and win games. Indeed, the Germans’ status as the tournament’s most successful team - they won six consecutive Euros between 1995 and 2013 - means they’re always among the chief favourites. After coming up short at the 2019 World Cup, the Germans want to prove that this generation can achieve, too, with young players like Oberdorf, Brand, Buhl, Gwinn and Lattwein and the experience of veterans like Popp, Huth, Schult and Magull. A team that’s always fearsome and always a candidate.
The best Spain team in history goes into the Euros out to repeat what this generation has already done at age-group level. Many of the players Jorge Vilda takes to England are European champions and World Cup runners-up, and know what it means to win big championships. With the spine of the 2021 Champions League winners Barcelona, and with the current Ballon d’Or holder, Alexia Putellas, Spain have a generation of players that know each other well, know their game inside out and have boundless quality. They know that in England they have a golden opportunity to fulfil their abundant potential. Indeed, almost all the other teams at the Euros have earmarked Spain as one of the major favorites. A tag that must not interfere with the team’s take-each-game-as-it-comes mentality...