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  • Writer's pictureWomen's Sports Exchange

European Championships Preview: Group B Teams

This article was worked on by multiple members of the WSX team, and we wanted to give them each a quick shout-out for their hard work. MK Ferry wrote both the Denmark and Spain previews, Emma Treptow wrote the Germany preview, and Tone Veastad Rasmussen wrote the Finland preview!


Denmark

Denmark is ready for revenge after placing as runner-ups in the 2017 Euros. Denmark has had a strong runup to the Euros this summer with positive results against Brazil and Group A contender Austria. Although they fell to Group A contender Norway, Denmark has shown that they are prepared for the Euros. This Danish squad topped Group B in Euro qualifying with 28 points in 10 games as they faced Italy, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Malta, Israel, and Georgia. They are looking to repeat their run to the final after shocking everyone in 2017 as they beat Germany in the quarterfinals and Austria in the semifinals on penalties.

Photo courtesy of @dbulandshold /Twitter

Players to Watch

Pernille Harder, Danish captain and Chelsea star, is determined to lead her team to the finals with the help of newcomer Kathrine Kühl, who turned 19 on July 5, 2022. Harder appeared in 27 games and scored 15 goals in all competitions for Chelsea in 2021-2022 and is looking to help lead her national team to victory yet again. Kathrine Kühl currently plays for FC Nordsjælland and has made 42 appearances and five goals since 2019. Forward Signe Brunn has 15 goals in only 23 matches for the Danes. Brunn will definitely be a player to look out for as she looks to add to her tally. Another player to look out for is Nadia Nadia who recently returned to the pitch on June 5, 2022, after having knee surgery in September of 2021. Some question if Nadim is ready to compete having only played a maximum of around 30 minutes each match for her club team, Racing Louisville FC but after her second-half brace against the Washington Spirit on June 17, she seems ready.



Finland

Finland might not be at the top of everyone's list when you ask people who they think will win in England this year, but the Finish side will always try to achieve the impossible. With an experienced squad with players representing clubs from all over the world. One of the things that could be a disadvantage is that there is no clear “star player” but the collective of the team will carry them far. Scoring very late in the qualifying rounds they must be more clinical in the tournament if they want to advance from “the group of death”. Being in the same group as Denmark, Germany, and Spain, they can live well with the underdog label and focus on doing their own thing without necessarily other people having high expectations for them. Finland uses their fullbacks a lot in their good old 4-4-2 formation and going forward they will be the primary point of the attacks. Coach Signeul said it was an exciting group and that they are excited to show off against some of the absolute top teams in the world.

Photo courtesy of @HelmaritFI /Twitter

Players to watch

Natalia Kuikka is maybe the most exciting player in the Finish squad. The 24-year-old has already won POTY three times and is currently an important player for her club team, Portland Thorns in the NWSL. Can play anywhere on the field really but for her national team, her spot is in the central defense but could go forward and be more attack-minded. Kuikka is a very complete player and will be an important piece for her team

Eveliina Summanen is young and very promising. Despite her age, she has been able to play herself into the starting XI. In early 2022, she took the step from the Swedish club Kristianstad to the WSL Tottenham. In England, she has continued to improve her game and could be the one scoring the goals for Finland. She can hit the ball hard and low but is also very capable in the air. She is strong and has the mindset to be a good footballer.

Olga Ahtinen is not in Signeul’s expected starting 11 but hopes to make an impact from the bench. The Linköping player is a very complete midfielder who goes box-to-box. Despite only being 23 years old she is Captain of her club team and is a leader on and off the field. Is determined and a hardworking player who can get her international breakthrough in this tournament if Finland ends up doing well.



Germany

Germany are the eight-time Euro champions with their last championship coming in 2013. They are coached by Martina Voss-Tecklenburg. Voss-Tecklenburg has been in charge of the German squad since 2019 and has coached the team to 30 wins, 3 draws, and 6 losses in her three years. This German squad is without a few star players in both Dzsenifer Marozsán and Melanie Leupolz but is still strong as they have many younger players with loads of potential. Their most recent results have been a 7-0 friendly win over Group C contender Switzerland, a 3-2 loss to Serbia, and a 3-0 win over Group C contender Portugal both in World Cup qualifying. Germany was drawn into Group B and will be competing against Denmark, Finland, and Spain as they hope to advance into the later stages of the tournament but with such a stacked group, it will be a test for the young German side.

Photo courtesy of DFB (Deutscher Fußball-Bund) Photo Galleries

Players to Watch

It is hard to talk about Germany without bringing up captain Alexandra Popp. This is Popp’s first-ever senior European Championship having not gotten the call in 2013 and missing out in 2017 due to injury, but it’s not her first major tournament by any means. Popp captained the 2019 World Cup squad and was an integral part of the 2016 Olympic gold medal-winning squad. And within the German front line, you have both experience and youth while alongside Popp for this Euros will be rising star Jule Brand. Brand is 19 years old and only made her senior debut with Germany in their friendly against Australia in April of 2021. But after subbing on in the 60’, she was on the scoresheet by the 62’ and then put up an assist in the 65’. Brand played for 1899 Hoffenheim in Germany this last season but is on the move to VfL Wolfsburg this summer. Behind Brand and Popp, making the midfield tick this Euros is Sara Däbritz who recently signed with Olympique Lyonnais through the 2025 season. Däbritz is a key part of Germany’s midfield and without Marozsán and Leupolz, Germany will be relying on her to hold the midfield down. Däbritz has the veteran experience needed to lead the midfield this tournament as she is surrounded by much younger, yet still experienced, players so it will be fun to watch her in action.



Spain

Spain flew through Euro Qualifiers scoring a total of 48 goals in only 8 games, winning 7 of them, and drawing in one. The team couldn’t be caught and won the group with 22 points compared to second place, the Czech Republic, and their 16 points. The team’s amazing chemistry can be partially credited to the fact that most players also play for Barcelona Femini, an almost unstoppable team, but fans will need to remember that Barcelona and Spain are very different teams so there cannot be an expectation for Spain to match the level of Barcelona Femini.

Photo courtesy of Fran Santiago/Getty Images

Players to Watch

Unfortunately, Jenni Hermoso and Alexia Putellas will both miss the Euros due to injury, and missing these two key players could be detrimental to their success. Despite their absence, the team is stacked with highly dependable players such as midfielder Aitana Bonmatí, goalie Sandra Paños, forward and upcoming star Clàudia Pina, and defender duo Leila Ouahabi and Mapi León. Bonmatí shined for Barcelona in their Champions League final against Chelsea last year as she scored Barcelona's third goal and won the Champions League Final MVP Award. Paños has been very good for Barcelona as well in helping hold down their backline and continuing to further them to victory by putting up clean sheets. Pina is one of the most exciting young players in the tournament despite having only three appearances from the senior national team. Pina had 19 goals in 37 appearances for Barcelona in 2021-22 after returning from a loan with Sevilla.

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