Football: record attendance, euphoria and favorites for Euro 2022

Football: record attendance, euphoria and favorites for Euro 2022

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The Women’s Euro in England is already setting new milestones before Wednesday’s opening match. Switzerland is taking part in this continental competition for the second time, but the favorites are elsewhere.

It’s probably a fluke, but it fits nicely into the picture. On Wednesday, England and Austria will open the Women’s Euro at Old Trafford. The home stadium of world club Manchester United is also known as the “Theatre of Dreams”, and perhaps either player will indeed feel like they are dreaming when they step onto the pitch and let their gaze wander over the grandstands. More than 73,000 fans will be present for the opening match of this 13th Euro. The tickets were sold out in a very short time. England wants to see football, women’s football. It has not always been the case. At least not for everyone.

On December 26, 1920, a charity match was held at Goodison Park in Liverpool. Women from the Dick & Kerr factory in Preston, which manufactures locomotives and trams, play against women from St Helens. They won 4-0, thrilled 53,000 spectators and collected the equivalent of 140,000 pounds. The money is not just for war veterans, as had been the case in other team appearances, but is also to help the working class.

The English federation (FA) does not appreciate this unexpected enthusiasm for women who play football, which is why it decides, barely a year later, on December 5, to ban women’s matches on its grounds, considering that football is ‘quite unsuitable for women’ and should therefore not be ‘supported’. It will be 51 years before the ban is lifted.

Wembley full in 43 minutes

Considering the steady growth and growing popularity of the sport in recent years, such misogynistic acts seem almost surreal. But even in 2022, UEFA won’t come out without a few jarring notes. Icelandic midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir has criticized the European umbrella organization for not respecting women’s football because, unlike what would happen at a men’s Euro, matches are not played in the most beautiful and the largest stadiums in the country, but that Icelanders, among others, would play on a Manchester City training ground that can accommodate 4,700 people.

Tournament director Chris Bryant told English media that venues had to be chosen as early as 2019 and that due to growth in recent years the tournament is now bigger than the FA had thought when applying: “But we had to take what we got, and having sold-out stadiums is never a bad thing.”

Not only will the opening game be played in front of full stands, but also the final on July 31 at Wembley. It took 43 minutes for the 87,000 tickets to be sold. It is therefore not surprising that this Euro, for which UEFA will pay 16 million euros, twice as much as in the last edition, sets new criteria in terms of spectator interest. In 2017 in the Netherlands, 274,041 tickets were sold, a record, and this year in England, more than 500,000 tickets have already found takers.


A difficult draw for Switzerland

On the sporting level, the tournament has several title contenders. Spain with the excellent Alexia Putellas, the Netherlands, defending champions, Sweden, 3rd in the World Cup, and Germany with their 8 European titles, should not be neglected, just like France or England. The host country, carried by its public, hopes to achieve a great coup. For Switzerland, this is the 2nd Euro after 2017, when the Swiss, under the aegis of the current coach of Germany Martina Voss-Tecklenburg, had been eliminated in the 1st round.

It should of course be different this time around and Nils Nielsen’s players are of course dreaming of reaching the quarter-finals. But with Sweden and the Netherlands, the ASF selection has 2 heavyweights in its group. And leaving one of them behind will be difficult.

Swiss selection for the Women’s Euro in England (July 6-31)





Euro 2022 (06-31.07 in England)

Portugal- Swiss 09.07 18.00 Wigan
Sweden – Swiss 13.07 6.00pm Sheffield
Swiss – Netherlands 17.07 18:00 Sheffield

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