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Here's everything you need to know about Euro 2022

The tournament begins at Old Trafford on Wednesday as hosts England face Austria.

What is it?

Uefa Women’s Euro 2022.

When and where is it?

The tournament is being held from 6-31 July in England, the Lionesses opening proceedings against Austria at Old Trafford at 8pm on Wednesday night.

netherlands-players-celebrate-with-the-uefa-womens-euro-2017-trophy Netherlands are the reigning champions from 2017. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

There are venues in London, Manchester, Brighton & Hove, Milton Keynes, Rotherham, Sheffield, Southampton, Trafford, Wigan & Leigh. It’s the second time England has hosted the competition, Germany triumphing there in 2005.

The Netherlands are the current holders, having won on home soil in 2017, before the Covid-19 pandemic delayed this edition.

Where can I watch it?

All 31 games will be live on RTÉ and BBC

Source: RTÉ - IRELAND’S NATIONAL PUBLIC SERVICE MEDIA/YouTube

Who’s taking part?

There are 16 nations taking part in this summer’s Euros, broken down into four groups with the top two sides in each progressing to the knockout stages.

Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland

Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland

Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal*, Switzerland (*Portugal replace Russia)

Group D: France, Italy, Belgium Iceland.

Full fixtures are available here.

Who are the favourites?

It’s tough to call, but Spain, England and Sweden are among most people’s favourites.

Vera Pauw, Louise Quinn and Lisa Fallon gave their picks to The42 last week, with Norway also getting a big nod, among other big-hitters.

Here’s the current bookies’ odds:

  • Spain – 7/2
  • England – 4/1
  • France – 5/1
  • Netherlands – 6/1
  • Germany – 7/1
  • Sweden – 7/1
  • Norway – 14/1
  • Denmark – 28/1
  • Italy – 28/1

Why aren’t the Republic of Ireland there?

Ireland fell agonisingly short in their qualification bid. The Girls In Green finished third in Group I, well adrift of heavyweights Germany and two points behind Ukraine. 

Pauw’s side had the play-off position in their sights but a gut-wrenching 1-0 defeat in Kiev ultimately ended their Euros dream. 

Ukraine went on to the play-offs, where they were beaten by Northern Ireland. Kenny Shiels’ charges made history in reaching their first-ever major tournament, a feat the Republic are yet to achieve.

That said, they are currently in a good position in their 2023 World Cup qualifying group. 

What players should I watch out for?

You’re spoiled for choice. Spain’s Ballon d’Or-winning midfielder Alexia Putellas is the name on everyone’s lips. The Fifa and Uefa Player of the Year is the focal point of this Spanish team, full of fellow Barcelona and Real Madrid superstars. She’ll pull the strings.

alexia-putellas-segura-spain-2022 One to watch: Alexia Putellas. Source: Alamy Stock Photo

Norway ace Ada Hegerberg is another in spotlight, the inaugural Ballon d’Or winner having made a stunning return to international duty after quitting the national team in 2017 in protest at a perceived lack of respect for female players, and missing the 2019 World Cup

Vivianne Miedema of the Netherlands and Arsenal is another who will shine on the big stage, along with the heartbeats of Sweden and Denmark, Caroline Seger – still at her brilliant best at 37 – and Pernille Harder.

There’s also an abundance of English talent: Ellen White, Beth Mead, Leah Williamson, Lauren Hemp, Alessia Russo… the list goes on and on.

Is there any Irish interest in this year’s World Cup?

Unfortunately Pauw’s team will have to watch from afar, but they’ll be keeping a close eye on future opponents: most notably Finland, who they face in a decisive World Cup qualifier at Tallaght Stadium on 1 September.

While the the Girls In Green were also absent at the 2019 World Cup, referee Michelle O’Neill flew the flag. She’ll do so again this time around, as an assistant.

It’s over to the North, too; Euro 2022 marking a huge moment in their history of women’s football. The national team disbanded at the turn of the century and only reformed in 2004, and have now defied the odds in qualifying for a maiden major tournament as a team of largely part-time players. In preparation for the tournament, 22 domestic-based players entered a seven-month full-time professional programme.

A massive challenge lies ahead: they’re the lowest-ranked team in the competition, the only outside Fifa’s top-30 at 47th in the world — the Republic are 27th, for context — and find themselves in a very tough group with England, Norway and Austria for company.

That said, Shiels and co. are certainly worth keeping a close eye on.

Three days to go.

- Updated 4/7/22 to include a note on Michelle O’Neill’s involvement.

About the author:

Emma Duffy

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