The wait is almost over. After a year’s delay, Euro 2022 will officially kick off on Wednesday night.
With 12 of our players vying for glory, there’s a total of 15 group stage games for you to show your support for our Gunners, and here is everything you need to know about what’s in store across the next three weeks.
What is it?
This will be the 13th edition of the UEFA European Women's Championship, which was first held in 1982. It is only the second time the competition will see 16 teams compete for the trophy, which is currently held by the Netherlands. Sarina Wiegman’s side (now the head coach of England) ran out 4-2 winners over Denmark on home soil back in 2017, and of course, Vivianne Miedema was on the scoresheet - twice.
Where is it being held?
For the second time, England has the honour of hosting the tournament after a successful staging back in 2005. 10 stadiums across eight cities will see match action, with Old Trafford hosting the opening game between England and Austria on Wednesday night, and Wembley the final on Sunday, July 31.
Who are the favourites?
If we look to the past, Germany won six editions of this tournament in a row from 1995 to 2013, and eight times in total, but the Netherlands are the current reigning champions. Their head coach Wiegman then went on to guide the Netherlands to the final of World Cup just two years later, and now she’s in charge of the Lionesses on home soil, who will be hoping to improve on their silver medals at the 1984 and 2009 EUROs.
Sweden were crowned winners at the inaugural 1984 final, but in more recent times, they secured bronze at the 2019 World Cup and silver in the Olympics last year. Interestingly, their kit at this year’s tournament comes complete with a guide of ‘How to stop Sweden’ on the inside of the shirt collar.
Spain, largely dominated by Barcelona players, are also fancied after the club’s success in the UEFA Women’s Champions League, and the same can be said for France who have stars such as Wendie Renard and Marie-Antoinette Katoto.
2017 finalists Denmark and two-time champions Norway, boosted by the return of Ada Hegerberg, also have their backers.
Which Arsenal players can I watch?
With 12 players at the tournament, there’s rarely a night throughout the group stage that doesn’t feature a Gunner. In fact, only four other teams have more players in the competition than us.
Let’s start with the hosts and one of our own, Leah Williamson, who will be captaining England at a major tournament for the first time. Cool, calm and composed in possession, yet strong in the tackle, she remains one of the finest ball-playing defenders in world football, but may also feature at the base of the midfield.
Lotte Wubben-Moy has also received a call-up as another rising star from our famous academy. A physically imposing defender who loves a crunching tackle, Wubben-Moy is also a big threat from set-pieces, scoring four times in 30 club appearances last season.
Moving into the forward line, Nikita Parris joined us from Lyon last summer. An energetic and hard-working wide player who can also operate through the middle, Parris is experienced at international level with 65 caps to date.
Then there’s Beth Mead, who is in the form of her career so far. Crowned our Player of the Season for 2021/22, Mead scored 14 goals and assisted 19 more in just 40 Arsenal appearances last term, in addition to scoring an 11-minute hat-trick against Northern Ireland back in October, becoming the first female player to do so at Wembley.
Also in contention to feature on opening night are Austria’s Manuela Zinsberger and Laura Wienroither. Since joining from Bayern Munich in 2019, Zinsberger has gone from strength to strength and last season was undoubtedly her best in Arsenal colours, keeping 18 clean sheets in 33 appearances and winning the Women’s Super League’s Golden Glove award.
Wienroither has only been in north London since January after joining from Hoffenheim, but she’s already shown glimpses of her talent across her 12 appearances to date. A high-energy full-back with pace to burn, Laura has picked up 20 caps, scoring once.
Finally in Group A, Frida Maanum will be representing Norway. An exciting young midfielder who can play in a variety of central roles, she has a little bit of everything to her game and could take the EUROs by storm. At just 22 years of age, she racked up 40 appearances for the club in her debut last term.
Moving into Group B, we have Denmark’s Simone Boye, who joined us from Bayern Munich last summer and has a wealth of experience at international level. In 2014 Boye won the Danish Football Player of the Year award and she also started the 2017 EURO final.
Flying the flag for Switzerland in Group C will be the experienced Lia Walti and Noelle Maritz. As captain of the national team, Walti is a true leader both on and off the pitch, consistently putting in top midfield performances and maintaining professional standards, and is nicknamed ‘Snakehips’ for her ability to turn away from opponents.
Right-back Maritz has also gained a reputation for her remarkable consistency at both club and international level. Calculated in possession and one of the finest 1v1 defenders in the Women’s Super League, Noelle has picked up 93 caps for Switzerland to date and recently signed a new contract with Arsenal.
Next up, we have a player whose goalscoring record has rightfully earned her the nickname ‘The Goat’ - Vivianne Miedema. The Netherlands striker is without doubt one of the finest footballers to ever grace the Women’s Super League, and at just 25, Miedema has netted an outstanding 94 times in 111 caps, including two in the 2017 EUROs final. If the Oranje go on to retain the trophy this summer, Viv’s goalscoring and creative ability will be right at the heart of it.
Last but certainly not least, Stina Blackstenius will be leading the line for Sweden. A powerful and clinical centre forward, Blackstenius wreaks havoc on defences with her intelligent movement and darting runs in behind, helping her to 26 goals in 77 international caps. She finished the 2020 Olympics with five to her name as Sweden claimed a silver medal.
When and where can I see them in action?
Wednesday, July 6 (8pm) | Old Trafford | GROUP A
England (Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Parris, Mead) v Austria (Zinsberger, Wienroither)
Thursday, July 7 (8pm) | St Mary’s Stadium | GROUP A
Norway (Maanum) v Northern Ireland
Friday, July 8 (8pm) | Brentford Community Stadium | GROUP B
Germany v Denmark (Boye)
Saturday, July 9 (5pm) | Leigh Sports Village | GROUP C
Portugal v Switzerland (Walti, Maritz)
Saturday, July 9 (8pm) | Bramall Lane | GROUP C
Netherlands (Miedema) v Sweden (Blackstenius)
Monday, July 11 (5pm) | St.Mary’s Stadium | GROUP A
Austria (Zinsberger, Wienroither) v Northern Ireland
Monday, July 11 (8pm) | AMEX Stadium | GROUP A
England (Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Parris, Mead) v Norway (Maanum)
Tuesday, July 13 (5pm) | Stadium MK | GROUP B
Denmark (Boye) v Finland
Wednesday, July 13 (5pm) | Bramall Lane | GROUP C
Sweden (Blackstenius) v Switzerland (Walti, Maritz)
Wednesday, July 13 (8pm) | Leigh Sports Village | GROUP C
Netherlands (Miedema) v Portugal
Friday, July 15 (8pm) | AMEX Stadium | GROUP A
Austria (Zinsberger, Wienroither) v Norway (Maanum)
Friday, July 15 (8pm) | St.Mary’s Stadium | GROUP A
England (Williamson, Wubben-Moy, Parris, Mead) v Northern Ireland
Saturday, July 16 (8pm) | Brentford Community Stadium | GROUP B
Denmark (Boye) v Spain
Sunday, July 17 (5pm) | Leigh Sports Village | GROUP C
Sweden (Blackstenius) v Portugal
Sunday, July 17 (5pm) | Bramall Lane | GROUP C
Netherlands (Miedema) v Switzerland (Walti, Maritz)
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