Euro in EnglandOur main trends before the quarter-finals
The first knockout matches of Euro 2022 will take place from Wednesday to Saturday. We tried to assess the chances of the various teams in contention.
Finally! The first round was not bad at all and there were even half-surprises, especially with the qualification of Belgium and that of Austria, for example. But the real salt of summer competitions – well, normally in summer when it’s not in Qatar – are necessarily the cleaver matches. We have tried to review the four clashes of this European championship in England.
85% – 15%
Wednesday July 20 (Brighton and Hove, 9 p.m. in Switzerland): England – Spain
The English have literally been flying since the start of the tournament and have a lethal weapon in attack with Beth Mead. Moreover, for many “Lionesses”, it will clearly be the “match of their life”. While waiting for the next one, of course, which they all hope will take place during the semi-final in Sheffield six days later against the winners of Sweden-Belgium, therefore Sweden.
But beware! Because in England – whose selection was once again affected by a case of Covid on Tuesday, after the absence of the coach during the last match – that is when the pressure begins to take effect. There’s no reason girls should be spared what so often affects these gentlemen. And then the British press began its usual undermining work, of course (we think in particular to this Guardian paper).
While not forgetting that, in front of her, the English will have a Spanish team which has not much to lose. The Iberians have an atypical game in this Euro and both Denmark and Germany have admitted to having adapted their scheme before meeting them, during the previous round. If the Spaniards finally put all the wasted chances of the first round to the bottom, the surprise may be at the end of the evening.
80% – 20%
Thursday July 21 (Brentford-London, 9 p.m. in Switzerland): Germany – Austria
The English bookmakers are formal: the Austrians have absolutely no chance of even worrying their German neighbors, during a quarter-final between good friends. Twelve players from Austria play in the Bundesliga and no one should surprise anyone during this meeting. The thing is that Irene Fuhrmann’s players have been very interesting since the start of hostilities. They got out of Norway with nothing to complain about, having stood up to the English in the opening match in front of almost 70,000 people (1-0 only).
The Germans didn’t surprise anyone either. They have honored the reputation of their football by being extremely solid and realistic. Their victory against Spain (2-0) perfectly illustrated their strengths and we are still looking for their weaknesses. If England can count on Beth Mead to pile up the goals, the Germans have Alexandra Popp. A goalscorer who also lines up the trophies.
According to several observers, they are, with the French, the main rivals of the English for the continental title, which will be awarded in ten days at Wembley. But German women’s football is currently in trouble and not everything is going well in the federal and local league arcana. And for a team that dominated Europe from 1995 to 2013, this is certainly not trivial. What to think of an Austrian surprise? Still not. But there will probably be more matches than we could have imagined a few weeks ago.
90% – 10%
Friday July 22 (Leigh-Wigan, 9 p.m. Switzerland): Sweden – Belgium
Finding the Red Flames at this level is a small event in itself. The Belgians snatched their ticket for the quarter-finals after a double round game against disappointing Italians (1-0) and not many people saw it coming. During the second pool match, they had narrowly avoided the correction against France (2-1). But since then, they have written the history of their country and have absolutely nothing to lose against the Olympic vice-champions.
Sweden owes a little revenge to its many supporters. It was not brilliant during the group stage (1-1 against the Netherlands, 2-1 against Switzerland), before finally letting go against Portugal (5-0), during a last day of all dangers. But the clinical efficiency of the Swedes on set pieces, via the foot of the extraordinary Kosovare Asllani, is potentially a lethal weapon when the serious things begin.
As a bonus, the Scandinavians are so used to this kind of meeting – they have been part of the eight best teams at the eleven European championships organized in history – that a surprise seems excluded. As a bonus, the Swedes, not even necessarily brilliant, always find a way to score at least once. The “Blagult” have scored at least one goal in their last 34 meetings. Suffice to say that, like the two previous meetings, there should be no surprises either in this quarter-final.
65% – 35%
Saturday July 23 (Rotherham, 9 p.m. in Switzerland): France – Netherlands
This is the poster with a very big A of this first knockout round. The Netherlands may be the title holders, but they will not leave with the favors of the odds against the Blue. It may seem paradoxical, it’s true, but the Batavians did not give all the security guarantees in the first round and, without a double miss from Coumba Sow and without a bench much more provided than that of Switzerland, who knows what could have happened. Especially since the Dutch have experienced a cascade of injuries and there is still doubt about the participation of the brilliant Vivianne Miedema.
On the other side of the meadow, France arrives as a quasi-favorite for the continental title, tied or almost with the English and the Germans. The thing is, the French seem to have a problem with those pesky quarter-finals of the competition. A level at which they have each time been eliminated in the last three editions of the Euro and the last two World Cups for which they had qualified.
As a bonus, France lost its Parisian star Marie-Antoinette Katoto in the group stage. The PSG striker suffered a sprained knee and coach Corinne Deacon’s whole house of cards had to be put back in place. Les Bleues know well that it is impossible to replace her position for position and will perhaps rely on their midfielder Grace Geyoro, author of a hat-trick in 36 minutes at the start against Italy (5-1) .
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