The Women’s Euro has been on and off for a number of years, but it will be back in 2022. England and Northern Ireland have both qualified as the hosts of the tournament, so what can they expect? The teams will each play three group games before deciding who moves onto the knockout stages.
Women’s Euro 2022 is the first time England and Northern Ireland have participated in a major tournament. The groups are as follows: Group A, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Sweden; Group B, Denmark, France, Norway, Portugal; Group C, Switzerland, Wales, Belgium, Hungary; Group D, Russia (host), Scotland (host), Ukraine.
Northern Ireland, led by Rachel Furness, is rated 48th in the world, 40 places behind Lucy Bronze’s England.
“It was written in the stars!” says the narrator.
When England and Northern Ireland were undoubtedly put in the same group for next summer’s Women’s Euro 2022, Lucy Bronze was right on with her judgment.
The two teams are the only home countries participants in the competition, and they will face off on July 15 at Southampton’s St Mary’s.
They are two opposing viewpoints with very different expectations. The tournament hosts, England, are among the favorites, while Northern Ireland is the lowest-ranked team in the competition.
So, what can they anticipate from a group that includes Austria and Norway, and what else sticks out in the draw – Group B seems to be delectable! – And how can the knockout stages be structured?
|Group A||Northern Ireland, England, Norway, Austria|
|Group B||Germany, Spain, Denmark, and Finland are all members of the European Union.|
|Group C||Russia, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland|
|Group D||France, Italy, Belgium, and Iceland are the four countries that make up the European Union.|
What stadiums will England and Northern Ireland compete in?
This is relatively basic in Northern Ireland. Because they are in Group A’s fourth place, they will play every game at St Mary’s.
England, on the other hand, will travel extensively, beginning with a match against Austria at Old Trafford on 6 July, followed by a journey south to Brighton’s Amex Stadium on 11 July to play Norway, and finally a trip down the coast to face Northern Ireland on 15 July.
Will Austria and Norway be difficult to deal with?
Austria is ranked 21st in the world.
Austria, the third seed in the group and a semi-finalist in 2017, will be up against it when they face England in the tournament opener at Old Trafford in front of what should be a sold-out crowd.
After a fantastic 2-2 draw in Belfast on Tuesday, Northern Ireland’s Kenny Shiels’ side would most likely have wanted to play Austria. Despite the disparity in ranks, the Irish part-timers startled Austria to take a 2-1 lead, which they maintained until injury time, demonstrating the fitness gap.
Nicole Billa, the German Player of the Year for 2021, is a player to keep an eye on on a team stacked with Bundesliga quality. You can’t dismiss them.
Norway is ranked 12th in the world.
Norway are formidable opponents, led by Women’s Footballer of the Year contender Caroline Graham Hansen, and their match against England in Brighton will very definitely determine who finishes first in the group.
The Scandinavians were knocked out of the World Cup by England in 2019 with a 3-0 win, but Martin Sjogren’s team came out on top in a friendly two months later, with Barcelona star Andreas Hansen scoring a late winner.
Norway presents an opportunity for Northern Ireland to demonstrate how far they have progressed under Shiels, having lost 6-0 against them in qualifying for the Euros in the early stages of his term.
On July 7, Ireland’s ambitions of competing in the Euros will come true in their debut match at a major event.
What are the possibilities for England and Northern Ireland?
From a group that seems to be favorable, England’s only choice is to advance as victors. Before the draw, Northern Ireland (27th) and Austria (12th) will meet the lowest ranked teams from their respective pots, and Norway will be considered as a considerably better option than either Spain or Sweden, who were potential opponents.
Last week, the Lionesses trounced Northern Ireland 4-0 at Wembley, despite the visitors’ best efforts, while England beat Norway 3-0 in the quarter-finals, giving them their finest performance of the 2019 World Cup. Sarina Wiegman will be able to gauge her team’s performance against Austria in a World Cup qualifier in Sunderland next month.
While Shiels has performed a miracle in leading Northern Ireland to their first major final, progressing out of the group will be a difficult task.
NI is the lowest-ranked squad in the tournament, and despite their plans to become full-time in January, they are up against three experienced teams with a plethora of elite players.
In their favor, having all three games in Southampton is a plus, and facing England and Austria, both of whom NI will be hoping to beat before the Euros, will add to the excitement. Keep your friends close by and your foes closer yet.
In the knockout rounds, who would England and Northern Ireland face?
Here’s when things start to get interesting.
Whoever qualifies from Group A will play a team from Group B, with Germany, Spain, or Denmark being the most likely candidates.
If England or Northern Ireland finish second, they will play the Group B winners, which might be Germany, who has won eight of the last ten Euros.
If England or Northern Ireland win the group, the prospective prize is only somewhat less terrible, with a Spain team full of Barcelona Champions League champions or a Pernille Harder-inspired Denmark on the horizon.
What about the other teams?
With that in mind, it’s no wonder that Group B is dubbed “the hazardous group.”
The notion of a match between Germany’s eight-time winners and a flowing Spanish team, who have the benefit of a club-like feel with ten Barca players in a recent squad, is appealing to neutrals.
Sweden, the first ever winners of the Women’s Euros in 1984, and the reigning champions, the Netherlands, are also grouped together in Group C.
While Group D seems to be up for grabs for France, the world’s fifth-ranked team, there are still doubts about their ability to win.
On theory, a group comprising Italy, Switzerland, and Iceland should be uncomplicated, but the French have a history of failing to go beyond the quarter-finals of major tournaments.
The “women’s euro 2022 venues” is a tournament that will be taking place in the summer of 2022. England and Northern Ireland are both set to compete.
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- northern ireland women’s national football team players