The 2022 European Championships are in full swing with the quarterfinals starting on Wednesday, June 20, 2022. The group stage flew by with games nearly every day and surprises throughout the games and within each group.
England are flying high as they topped Group A with 9 points, 14 goals scored, and no goals against. With wins over all three opponents and an 8-0 win over Norway, England has proven they are ready to make a run into the knockout stages. Their attack has been on fire with Beth Mead leading both the team and the tournament with five goals and two assists. But it’s not only Mead. Youngster Alessia Russo has three goals while Fran Kirby has a goal and three assists. They will be playing the Group B runner-up, Spain, on Wednesday, June 20, 2022, at 3:00 PM EST/8:00 PM GMT.
Norway did not live up to any of the expectations set for them in the tournament, with only one win in three games. They fell to England 8-0 after giving up three goals in the first 30 minutes. They were unable to get it together in the first half, resulting in them giving up three more goals. Norway then fell again to Austria in a decisive match that dictated who would be second in the group. As a team with so much talent, Norway did not show up as expected on the world stage. This is the second time in a row that they failed to qualify for the knockout stages of the Euros.
The 2013 Euros champions, Germany, look ready to retake back their title with a perfect nine points in three games as well as nine goals found. They proved their dominance in the group stage with a 2-0 win over Spain, where they scored two first-half goals with only two shots on goal. The Germans were able to capitalize on their chances early and it paid off as Spain dominated possession and chances in the second half. Captain Alexandra Popp has three goals so far in the tournament. It is Popp’s first ever Euros, as she missed both the 2013 and 2017 tournaments due to injury, and she is showing up for her national team. They will be playing Group A runner-up Austria on Thursday, June 21, 2022, at 3:00 PM EST/8:00 PM GMT
The 2017 runner-ups, Denmark, are headed home instead of to a quarterfinal. Denmark struggled in this tournament, especially to find goals. They improved defensively after their opening game against Germany, which was a 4-0 loss. The Danes were unable to involve star and captain, Pernille Harder, in their games the way they wanted, which meant they were unable to find goals. Harder played well on an individual scale, but without help from her teammates, she was unable to make as much happen.
The defending champions, the Netherlands, are through but not by much. They barely scraped out wins against Portugal and Switzerland. The Dutch lost starting goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal in the first 25 minutes of their opening match due to injury. Van Veenendaal has 70 caps for the Dutch whereas her backup Daphne van Domselaar only had one senior cap when entering the game for van Veenendaal. Van Domselaar has been absolutely stellar for the Dutch and without her, they could’ve been in even bigger trouble. After that game, Jackie Groenen and Vivianne Miedema both tested positive for COVID-19. Groenen made it back for the final match of the group stage but Miedema is yet to return. It was announced on June 19, 2022, that star winger Lieke Martens suffered a foot injury during the final group stage match against Switzerland and would be unable to continue for the rest of the tournament. The Netherlands faced elimination, as they were level with the Swiss until the 84th minute when 21-year-old Romee Leuchter scored her first international goal to put her team ahead. The youth for the Dutch will be extremely important entering the quarterfinals, especially with the news that Martens is out. They will play Group D winner France on Saturday, June 23, 2022, at 3:00 PM EST/8:00 PM GMT.
Sweden topped their group after a slow start against the Netherlands. The 2020 Tokyo Olympic silver medalists have a squad jam-packed with talent, and they looked positive throughout the group stage while scoring eight goals in three games. Conceeding only two goals, their defense is just as set as their attack. The Swedish offense gets a lot of the praise, but the group stage proved their defense is a huge part of their success. With Chelsea’s Magdalena Eriksson and PSG’s Amanda Ilestedt leading the backline, this Swedish defense is one of the strongest in the tournament, but will be put to the test in the knockout round. They will play Group D runner-up Belgium on Friday, June 22, 2022, at 3:00 PM EST/8:00 PM GMT.
France have never won a major tournament and rarely make it past the quarterfinal stage. Their coach, Corinne Diacre, has gotten a lot of heat for some of her decisions for this Euros squad. She left off Amandine Henry despite her incredible season with Champions League winner Lyon, as well as Eugénie Le Sommer who is France’s all-time top goal scorer. Henry has publicly spoken about Diacre’s poor treatment of players during the 2019 World Cup. This French squad also lost Marie-Antoinette Katoto due to a knee injury that she picked up in their second game against Belgium. Katoto is a key player for France and her loss will definitely be felt despite the fact that the depth of France’s front line cannot be denied. France won their first two matches before drawing Iceland after a 90+12’ penalty kick for the Icelandic side. They will play Group C runner-up and defending champions, the Netherlands, on Saturday, June 23, 2022, at 3:00 PM EST/8:00 PM GMT.
Belgium qualified for their first-ever knockout stage after defeating Italy on the final day of the group stage. The Red Flames went 1-1-1 in the group, but almost stole a point from France if it wasn’t for a goal from Griedge Mbock in the 41st minute. With a goal in the 49th minute, Tine De Caigney secured three points for her squad despite Italy’s efforts to score late in the second half. The Italians outshot the Belgians 20-8, but the Red Flames’ efficiency paid off. The Belgians will have to play one of their best games against Sweden if they want a chance to continue on in the tournament, but simply making it to the quarterfinals is history made for the country. They will play Group C winner Sweden on Friday, June 22, 2022, at 3:00 PM EST/8:00 PM GMT.