The 2022 Women’s European Championships is underway with hosts England looking to claim their first-ever crown.
Sarina Wiegman’s side are 16/5 favourites to win the tournament with Bet UK and opened the show with a 1-0 win over Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday night.
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Yet serious competition comes in the form of eight-time winners Germany and defending champions the Netherlands, both of whom have their opening fixtures toward the end of the week.
This week, our Acca picks for Bet UK amount to 20/1 odds and focus on England’s biggest Euro 2022 rivals in the first gameweek.
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Pick 1. Over 3.5 goals (7/10) in Spain vs Finland
- Stat to know: Spain recorded more shots on target in qualifying than any other team.
Spain are second-favourites to win the Euros this summer and have been given a fairly comfortable first game of their group stage, which pits them against Finland, the third-lowest ranked side at the tournament (above only Portugal and Northern Ireland).
La Roja may have been rocked by multiple injury blows — both Jenni Hermoso and Alexia Putellas have pulled out of the squad due to injuries — but they should still have more than enough to beat Finland. In one of their warm-up games, Spain thrashed a much-rotated Australia side 7-0. Meanwhile, Finland recently shipped five goals against Japan.
Pick 2. Both Teams to Score (7/10) in Germany vs Denmark
- Stat to know: Only the Netherlands (47) scored more goals than Germany and Denmark (43) in qualifying.
Group B is a fascinating prospect with three teams who will genuinely believe their minimum goal for the tournament is to get into the knockout stages. Both Germany and Denmark had good qualification campaigns and come into the tournament strong in attack.
During qualifying, both Germany and Denmark conceded just one goal, but they have shown defensive frailties against the bigger teams at times. Over their past six matches, both Germany and Denmark have managed just two clean sheets each, meaning we should be set for goals.
Pick 3. Vivianne Miedema to score anytime (8/5) in Netherlands vs Sweden
- Stat to know: Vivianne Miedema has scored more goals than any player in Women’s Super League history (74 goals in 89 games) and averages 0.85 goals per game at international level.
Euro 2022 is a major tournament with so many goalscorers coming in great form, off the back of strong ends to the domestic season and good showings in friendlies. One of those players, to no one’s surprise, is Vivianne Miedema.
The Arsenal striker ended the 2021/22 WSL campaign on 14 goals despite dropping deeper into the second half of the season after Stina Blackstenius’ signing. Miedema is still only 25 but is the WSL’s all-time record scorer and holds the record for the Netherlands, too, netting 94 goals in 111 matches so far.
To give readers less familiar with women’s football an idea of how highly rated Miedema is, she spent last summer shooting down comparisons between herself and Lionel Messi.
“It always comes up in interviews and I’ve got a bit tired of it,” she told Dutch press.
“We don’t really have anything in common; I don’t look like him, I don’t play like him and we have different personalities.
“From what I can see, he is always in the background, hardly giving interviews. I like to be in front of the camera talking about the best thing there is: football.
“As a footballer, Messi is much more elegant with much more individual skill. The comparison does stroke my ego but it also means the pressure is greater. Everyone expects me to be scoring.”
Of course, Miedema is among the favourites to win the Golden Boot at Euro 2022 and should get up and running in her first match. But former Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham winger Gemma Davison believes she has big competition for the Golden Boot, including Gunners teammate Beth Mead, who scored England’s winner against Austria.
“Can I predict [who will finish top scorer]? No,” Davison told Talksport when asked who will finish as top scorer.
“As soon as you said Hegerberg… I do think she’s going to be an absolute threat, her presence alone is just unbelievable.
“But as soon as you mentioned Miedema… she’s outrageous, it is going to be a massive race.
“I think those two will be the front-runners, but I do think Beth Mead will have a good tournament and Ellen White’s got great experience in these big tournaments.
“But I think it will be between those three. Beth Mead’s finishing at the moment… she can be in there as well.
“England are on form. Look at their build-up, the games they’ve just had; Beth Mead is on fire, like another level at the moment.
“I don’t know what planet she’s on at the moment. She’s unbelievable.”
|Uefa Women's Euro 2022: Top goalscorer||Sky Bet|
|Beth Mead (England)||2/7|
|Alexandra Popp (Germany)||5/2|
|Alessia Russo (England)||50/1|
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Pick 4. France to win (12/25) vs Italy
- Stat to know: France did not concede a single goal in qualifying.
France were one of the early favourites for the Euros and their status was in no way diminished by their group draw. Les Bleus share a group with Belgium, Iceland and Italy, opening against the latter who bowed out of the group stage at Euro 2017.
While this will certainly be France’s toughest test in the group, it’s one they should overcome, especially as they are on a 14-game winning streak since April 2021.
◉ England at the 2017 Women's Euros: Knocked out in semi-final
◉ England at the 2018 Men's World Cup: Knocked out in semi-final
— Squawka (@Squawka) July 5, 2022
Pick 5. Switzerland to win (22/25) vs Portugal
- Stat to know: Portugal’s first and only major international tournament was the 2017 Euros, where they finished bottom of the group.
These two are outsiders but they could sneak through to the knockout stages if the Netherlands or Sweden have a tough tournament, so whoever wins this match will put themselves in a decent starting position.
Switzerland are the higher-placed side in the rankings, holding a 10-place lead over Portugal, who only found out about their participation in May. The Swiss should get the better of opponents playing just their second-ever major tournament.