Euro 2022: Biggest women’s sporting event in European history ready for lift-off

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Host nation: England Dates: 6-31 July Venues: Old Trafford, Manchester; St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton; Amex Stadium, Brighton; Stadium MK, Milton Keynes; Brentford Community Stadium; Leigh Sports Village; Bramall Lane, Sheffield; Academy Stadium, Manchester; New York Stadium, Rotherham; Wembley Stadium.
Coverage: All 31 video games will likely be proven stay throughout the BBC. Click here for more information

The Women’s European Championship begins on Wednesday when hosts England tackle Austria, with organisers saying: “Let’s go and make history.”

A record-breaking 500,000 ticketsexternal-link – twice as many as attended the earlier Euros in the Netherlands in 2017 – have been bought, with the ultimate being staged at a sold-out Wembley on 31 July.

England are favourites to win Euro 2022, in keeping with knowledge analysts Nielsen’s Gracenote.external-link

Their opening group sport with Austria, which will likely be watched by 70,000-plus inside Old Trafford, is the primary of 31 matches throughout 25 days that are all being proven stay on the BBC.

Sixteen groups – together with debutants Northern Ireland and holders the Netherlands – will compete in the primary Women’s European Championship to be staged in England since 2005.

Seventeen years on, match organisers Uefa – European soccer’s governing physique – has labelled the thirteenth version because the “largest women’s sporting event in European history”.

“We cannot wait to get the ball rolling,” mentioned Nadine Kessler, Uefa chief of women’s soccer.

The half one million tickets already bought have been bought from 99 nations, and Kessler added: “Who would have thought that for a women’s match?

“That is solely unbelievable. It exhibits how excessive our expectation is and what we wish to obtain.”

First Women’s Euros for 5 years

The Women’s Euros is often held each 4 years and, after the Netherlands won it in 2017, it ought to have taken place in 2021.

It was pushed again 12 months after the boys’s 2020 European Championship and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics had been each postponed till 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

When England beforehand staged the match in 2005, venues throughout the North West – Blackpool, Manchester, Blackburn, Warrington and Preston – had been used.

This time video games are being staged throughout the nation though no venues in the Midlands or North East will host video games.

It may also be the primary time that Video Assistant Referee expertise has been used at a Women’s European Championship.

Low-priced tickets and document crowds

Uefa have made 700,000-plus tickets obtainable. The earlier version staged in the Netherlands was watched by 240,045 followers.

Ticket costs have been stored low to draw households. They range from £5 to £50external-link which means a household of 4 can watch a match for as little as £30.

The choice to make use of the Manchester City Academy Stadium – which can have a lowered capability of below 5,000 for the Euros – has been criticised.

“It’s embarrassing,” mentioned Iceland midfielder Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir, whose facet play two of their three group video games on the residence of Manchester City’s women’s crew. “It’s disrespectful in direction of women’s soccer as a result of it is a lot larger than folks assume.”

Almost 100,000 worldwide followers are anticipated to attend matches whereas a worldwide tv viewers of 250 million-plus is predicted to observe.

There is strain on the organisers to ship an event that attracts followers in past the Euros.

“We are assured that many matches will likely be bought out and are wanting ahead to greater than doubling the full attendance of Uefa Women’s Euro 2017 in the Netherlands,” mentioned a Euro 2022 spokesperson.

Group A fixtures at Euro 2022 sees England face Northern Ireland on 15 July

Which nations are collaborating – and who’re the massive hitters?

Germany are by far probably the most profitable facet in the match’s history with eight triumphs, together with six in a row between 1995 and 2013. The different winners are Norway (1987, 1993), Sweden (1984) and the Netherlands (2017).

Six of the world’s high 10 are collaborating: Sweden (2nd in Fifa’s rankings), France (third), Netherlands (4th), Germany (fifth), Spain (seventh) and England (eighth).

The 16 groups are divided into 4 teams of 4. The high two undergo to the quarter-finals, the place it turns into a straight knockout.

England boss Sarina Wiegman led her native nation, the Netherlands, to European glory 5 years in the past.

While the Lionesses are predicted to win by Nielsen’s Gracenote, they forecast a “huge open match” with Sweden, Germany, France and the Netherlands severe contenders.

“There is sort of 80% probability that this 12 months’s European champions will come from this quintet,” they add.

Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland. Venues: Manchester (Old Trafford), Southampton, Brighton.

Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland. Venues: Milton Keynes, Brentford.

Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal. Venues: Leigh, Sheffield (Bramall Lane).

Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland. Venues: Manchester (Academy Stadium), Rotherham.

Five gamers to look out for

Ada Hegerberg (Norway): Quit the nationwide crew in 2017 in protest at a perceived lack of respect for feminine gamers, however the inaugural Ballon d’Or winner returned to the worldwide scene in April and is trying to make her mark at Euro 2022.

Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands): The Arsenal striker is on the high of her sport and is hoping so as to add one other European title to her CV after serving to the Netherlands win Euro 2017.

Pernille Harder (Denmark): The Chelsea midfielder is Denmark’s all-time main scorer and captained them to the Euro 2017 last.

Lauren Hemp (England): The Manchester City winger, 21, who was named the Women’s Super League’s younger participant of the 12 months for a record-breaking fourth season in a row, has been on-fire for membership and nation, profitable many plaudits for her eye-catching runs and targets.

Wendie Renard (France): The Lyon defender, 31, has gained a document 14 French league titles and eight European Cups and is captain of membership and nation.

Will England ship?

There is strain on the Lionesses to ship a primary European crown in entrance of their very own followers.

They have twice come shut earlier than, ending runners-up to Sweden in the inaugural Women’s Euros in 1984 earlier than attending to the ultimate once more in 2009 solely to lose to Germany in Finland.

Since Wiegman grew to become supervisor in September 2021, England are unbeaten in 13 matches and in February won the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup – a contest that featured Olympic champions Canada, Spain and two-time world champions Germany.

Arsenal’s Leah Williamson will captain the Lionesses.

“This goes to be the most important women’s event in Europe ever,” Wiegman instructed BBC Sport.

“It’s going to be actually thrilling however it may possibly additionally trigger a little bit stress. There are going to be expectations however we now have to embrace it.

“This is an opportunity to make everybody proud.”

Will Northern Ireland shine?

Euro 2022 marks an enormous second in the history of women’s soccer in Northern Ireland. The nationwide crew solely reformed in 2004 after being disbanded on the flip of the century.

Whatever occurs this month, Northern Ireland have already defied the percentages to achieve one of many largest phases in the game as a crew largely made up of part-time gamers.

In preparation for Euro 2022, 22 domestic-based gamers entered a seven-month full-time skilled programme.

Kenny Shiels’ facet are the lowest-ranked crew in the competitors – forty seventh in the world.

In April, Shiels mentioned “women are more emotional than men” when discussing his facet’s 5-0 defeat by England in a World Cup qualifier.

His remarks drew criticism and Shiels apologised saying: “I’m proud to handle a bunch of gamers who’re function fashions for so many ladies, and boys, throughout the nation.”

How to comply with Euro 2022 on BBC

The BBC will give audiences 24/7 entry to all the motion, evaluation and perception throughout TV, radio and on-line throughout the match.

Every England and Northern Ireland sport will likely be broadcast stay on BBC One. Most video games will likely be BBC One or Two, with all 31 matches on BBC iPlayer. Former Arsenal and England gamers Alex Scott and Ian Wright are among the many pundits.

BBC Radio 5 Live may also have commentary on chosen video games.

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