In a summer where the calendar has been disrupted by the shifting of the World Cup to the winter, the lack of international spectacle has been glaringly obvious, especially with the Nation’s League becoming a non-event.
Thankfully, the Women’s Euro tournament is right around the corner and it promises to be a doozy. Originally scheduled to happen last summer, the 16-team tournament will kick off on July 6th with the final scheduled to be played on July 31st.
As is expected, a team of Chelsea’s caliber has a slew of players taking part and even leading their respective teams. Apart from players already at Chelsea, there are a few players who very well might end up in Chelsea blue.
Group A: England, Norway, Austria, Northern Ireland
With the Euros being played on home turf, much like the latter half of the men’s Euros last year, the Lionesses will hope to finally break the drought of International trophies at the senior level on home turf. Fran Kirby, Jessica Carter, Millie Bright and Bethany England are all part of the squad Sarina Wiegman has assembled. England have a coach who has proven successful at this level and perhaps the most complete squad, with strong performers across defense, midfield and especially attack. They are also in red-hot form coming into the tournament. Hopefully this means that England are ready to have a tournament performance befitting the talent of Fran Kirby. Lauren Hemp has been a revelation in the WSL and will hope to announce herself at the international level as well.
Perhaps the postponement of the tournament has benefited Norway the most as Ada Hegerberg made a return to international football after five years and captain Maren Mjelde returned to fitness. Hegerberg won the inaugural Women’s Ballon d’Or in 2018 and has been at the forefront of Lyon’s sustained success in the UWCL. She will hope to spearhead a successful campaign for Norway. She will be supported in attack by Barcelona’s Caroline Graham-Hansen and our own Guro Reiten forming an irrepressible front line. Reiten’s penchant for magnificence alone makes for required viewing.
06/07/2022 20:00 England vs Austria
07/07/2022 20:00 Norway vs Northern Ireland
11/07/2022 20:00 England vs Norway
15/07/2022 20:00 England vs Northern Ireland, Austria vs Norway
Group B: Germany, Spain, Denmark, Finland
Goalkeeper Ann-Katrin Berger will be Chelsea’s only player in the German squad as Melanie Leupolz is currently pregnant and has been on maternity leave since the beginning of the year. The 8-time winners had a stranglehold on the title until the Netherlands defeated them on the way to victory in 2017. That said, Germany remains a strong favorite to win the trophy. Chelsea fans should keep a keen eye on Lena Oberdorf, whose signing for Chelsea I’m trying to speak into existence. The 20-year-old is already regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders around and has amassed tons of minutes at the top level. Her athleticism, aerial prowess and technical ability set her apart from her peers but it is her defensive nous, composure and reading of the game that make her really impressive. This is a profile Chelsea needs to compete for the Women’s Champions League.
The Spanish team comes into the tournament with a lot of expectations behind it. With a core of players who have enjoyed tremendous success for Barcelona, Spain will hope to replicate the successes of the Spanish men’s team (who had a similarly Barcelona heavy core) in the 2008-2012 period. Alexia Putellas has been the best player in Europe for a couple of years now and will hope to replicate her club form for her country. Spain will miss their top scorer in qualifying rounds, Jenni Hermoso as she picked up an injury.
Denmark reached the final in 2017 and will hope to replicate that feat in this edition of the Euros as well. Pernille Harder will once again reprise the role of a talismanic captain. However, their road to the final is a very tough one as they are in the proverbial group of death. They have to beat out one of the tournament favorites in Spain and Germany to advance. That being said, the Danes shouldn’t be under-estimated as they beat Germany on the road to the final in 2017. Pernille Harder has been simmering for quite a while and I think is poised to explode as a goalscorer at some point as her somewhat poor finishing streak swings the other way and she regresses to the mean. If that happens, Denmark could end up surprising a few teams along the way.
08/07/2022 20:00 Germany vs Denmark
12/07/2022 17:00 Denmark vs Finland
12/07/2022 20:00 Germany vs Spain
16/07/2022 20:00 Finland vs Germany, Denmark vs Spain
Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal
After winning the 2017 Euros and reaching the final of the 2019 World Cup, under current England manager Sarina Wiegman, the Dutch have been somewhat underwhelming since Wiegman’s departure in 2021. Even though the core attacking group of Miedema, Martens, Van de Donk and Groenen that got them to those heights remains intact, things haven’t quite come together for them. They enter the tournament on the back of a heavy 5-1 defeat to England and will hope to top their group in order to have an easier route forward. 23-year old Aniek Nouwen had an impressive debut season for Chelsea and will hope to play a key role for her team’s defense in the tournament.
Sweden have come achingly close to international success in recent years with a third-place finish at the 2019 World Cup and a runners-up medal in the recent Olympics. This might well be their opportunity to go all the way. The team prides itself in working harder than the opposition and being tough to beat. Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson is the vice-captain of the team with the meme-queen Zećira Mušović as part of the goalkeeping contingent. Former blue Jonna Andersson is part of the squad as well. Fridolina Rolfo is the player to watch as she has the ability to hurt opposition teams from wide areas both by cutting in and unleashing powerful strikes from distance and staying wide and putting in dangerous crosses. Getting out of the group shouldn’t be a challenge for both Sweden and the Netherlands, but finishing at the top of the group is likely to yield a favorable quarter final match up, so expect a competitive match between the two teams.
09/07/2022 20:00 Netherlands vs Sweden
13/07/2022 17:00 Sweden vs Switzerland
13/07/2022 20:00 Netherlands vs Portugal
17/07/2022 17:00 Switzerland vs Netherlands, Sweden vs Portugal
Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland
France will hope to do better than reaching the Quarter final this time and justify their billing as favorites. They have a manageable group and will face the runner-up of Group D in the quarter finals. This gives them a great opportunity to go all the way should things come together for the team. On the eve of the tournament, Chelsea signed Ève Périsset, who plays in full back positions for France. While primarily used at right-back, Périsset can fill in at left back and in defensive midfield as well. She will feature regularly for Les Bleues and should hopefully give fans an indication of what she can bring to Chelsea next season.
10/07/2022 20:00 France vs Italy
14/07/2022 20:00 France vs Belgium
18/07/2022 20:00 Iceland vs France