England will be looking to bring football home this summer as they host the Women’s Euro 2022 tournament.
One year on from the men’s side going agonisingly close to winning Euro 2020, it’s the turn of England’s Lionesses, led by Sarina Wiegman, to try and get a first major senior trophy since the 1966 World Cup.
England have been hosts of the Women’s Euros before in 2005 but that was a tournament to forget as they bowed out of the group stage, finishing bottom of their group behind Sweden, Finland and Denmark, but for Euro 2022 it feels different.
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In Wiegman, England have a manager that has won the European Championships before, leading Netherlands to glory in 2017 while also leading the Leeuwinnen (Lionesses) to the World Cup final in 2019, only losing to the all-conquering United States.
England’s potential path to Euro 2022 final
As hosts for the tournament England did not have to go through qualifying which meant they missed out on competitive fixtures following the end of the 2019 World Cup, but that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing as the Lionesses went through a period of change. After managing just one win at the 2020 SheBelieves Cup, Phil Neville left England at the start of 2021 and was replaced on a temporary basis by Hege Riise, who also took charge of Team GB at the Olympics.
But Wiegman had already been in line to replace Neville and finally took over after the Olympics, ending her time with Netherlands, and she’s had an excellent start to life as Lionesses manager.
The Dutchwoman has taken charge of 13 games since the start of September 2021 and England remain unbeaten, winning 11 matches and drawing just two in the Arnold Clark Cup – which they still managed to win. Under Wiegman, England have now scored 80 goals and conceded just three times, including two pre-Euro friendlies this month.
In the first, Belgium were eventually beaten 3-0 following a slow start, but the big result came in the second match. England hosted Wiegman’s former side Netherlands at Elland Road and, after going 1-0 down, bounced back in emphatic fashion to win 5-1 thanks to goals from Lucy Bronze, Lauren Hemp, Ella Toone and a Beth Mead brace.
The #Lionesses' record since the appointment of Sarina Wiegman:
Goals scored: 80
Goals conceded: 3
— Squawka (@Squawka) June 24, 2022
England have also been placed in a group many will expect them to come out of, if not win, against Austria, Norway and Northern Ireland, kicking off the tournament against the former at Old Trafford.
England Euro 2022 group stage fixtures
6 July 2022: England vs Austria (8pm UK time)
11 July 2022: England vs Norway (8pm UK time)
15 July 2022: Northern Ireland vs England (7pm UK time)
If England win Group A
- If England were to win Group A, this would be their route through to the final, with no complications as only the top two sides go through.
- Quarter-finals: The runners-up of Group B, which consists of Germany, Denmark, Spain and Finland, in Brighton on 20th July.
- Semi-finals: The winner of Quarter-final 3, which is played between the winner of Group C (Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland or Portugal) and the Group D runners-up (France, Italy, Belgium and Iceland).
If England qualify from Group A
- If England finish second in Group A, they will go to the other side of the bracket.
- Quarter-finals: The winners of Group B in Brentford on 21st July.
- Semi-finals: The winner of Quarter-final 4, played between Group C runners-up and Group D winners.
England squad and players to watch
One of the main stories when the England squad was announced was the omission of former captain Steph Houghton, who was deemed not ready to compete after ending the 2021/22 campaign injured.
But England still have a lot of stars in the squad for fans to get excited about.
We’ll start with the new England captain. For Arsenal, Leah Williamson is a centre-back and one of the best in the Women’s Super League, but in Wiegman’s England the 25-year-old is seen as more of a holding midfielder, utilising her passing range as well as her defensive ability. Williamson’s position at the base gives England the freedom to play more attacking players in the midfield trio, which is the only way the Lionesses can get as many as their stars in the team as possible.
One of those attacking stars, and perhaps the best, is Lauren Hemp. The Manchester City winger is still just 21 but goes into the Euros with the hopes and expectations of a nation on her shoulders, she’s that good. Hemp is the first name on Wiegman’s team sheet when it comes to attackers and the front three will be built around her on the left wing. The 21-year-old is improving in front of goal, scoring seven goals since Wiegman took charge but it extremely dangerous with her dribbling and crossing, setting up Mead against Netherlands with an excellent ball into the box.
A year ago Beth Mead was frustrated as she had not been called up for the Team GB squad to go to the Tokyo Olympics, snubbed by Riise despite having a good season with Arsenal. But Mead channelled that frustration into growing quality on the pitch and was named in Wiegman’s first England squad – and she’s not looked back since. Scoring on her return, Mead has netted 14 times under Wiegman and entered the summer off the back of a fantastic season with Arsenal in which she scored 11 goals and recorded eight assists in the WSL.
There are a lot of other players in England’s squad that deserve a mention, such as Alessia Russo, Chloe Kelly, Ella Toone, Alex Greenwood and Keira Walsh (plus many more) but Ellen White enters the tournament in something of a strange position. The Manchester City striker did not have the best goal return in the WSL, netting just four goals across the 2021/22 campaign, but she turns up when England need her most.
Last year White became the all-time top goalscorer for England Women, with a hat-trick in a 20-0 win over Latvia, taking her tally to 48 overall. She has since scored two more goals to move to 50, and will be hoping to become the all-time top scorer across England Men and Women, needing three goals to equal Wayne Rooney’s tally of 53.
England full squad:
Goalkeepers: Mary Earps, Hannah Hampton, Ellie Roebuck.
Defenders: Millie Bright, Lucy Bronze, Jess Carter, Rachel Daly, Alex Greenwood, Demi Stokes, Lotte Wubben-Moy.
Midfielders: Fran Kirby, Jill Scott, Georgia Stanway, Ella Toone, Keira Walsh, Leah Williamson.
Forwards: Bethany England, Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly, Beth Mead, Nikita Parris, Alessia Russo, Ellen White.