Euro 2017 – Women’s football to take center stage this summer

The Equalizer Staff May 12, 2017 86
France will be looking to take SheBelieves Cup success into the Euro's. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

France will be looking to take SheBelieves Cup success into the Euro’s. (photo copyright EriMac Photo for The Equalizer)

With no major international tournaments in men’s football this summer, the superstars of the women’s game will be given a chance to shine at the Euro 2017 competition. To be hosted in the Netherlands, 12 teams will fight it out for glory in a three-week extravaganza across seven host cities.

The women’s game continues to grow in popularity and the standard improves as new young female players come through academies and into the senior sport. However, the mass appeal of men’s competitions such as the Champions League and Premier League clearly detract attention from the women’s game – which is loaded with skill, excitement and ability.

This summer is an ideal opportunity for the female superstars of the sport to act as role models and attract a whole new audience – plenty of punters will be heading to the Bet365 2017 information page to back the team they think will be victorious.

Germany go into the competition as favorites and will be defending the title that they won in Sweden back in 2013, where they beat Norway in the final. Steffi Jones’ side have recently overtaken world champions United States in the FIFA rankings and as such will be the team to beat in the tournament. However, Germany will have some excellent opponents to overcome if they are to retain their trophy.

England will be one of their main challengers, with Mark Sampson’s side beating the Germans in the third place match at the World Cup two years ago. The Three Lionesses have plenty of experience in their squad ahead of the competition, while in Manchester City striker Toni Duggan they possess a player capable of leading the team towards glory.

France will also be a major threat, with Les Bleues ranked third in the world and able to go toe-to-toe with anyone on their day. Olivier Echouafni’s side are set to host the World Cup in 2019 and as such a strong showing here would set a real benchmark for future progress.

With a host of stars from the Olympique Lyonnais club in the international squad, France will hope to forge a strong team ethos going into the competition to match their considerable skill levels.

The Scandinavian countries are always competitive in the women’s game, with Sweden the most-menacing and Norway capable of an upset.

The hosts Netherlands will expect to get through Group A, with rising star Vivianne Miedema, who plays for Bayern Munich, netting an impressive 35 goals in her international career so far – despite only being 20 years old.

England have been partnered with age-old rivals Scotland in Group D, while Germany’s game with Sweden in Group B should decide that pool’s winner.

Excitement and anticipation should start to build in the lead-up to the tournament, with the fans sure to be treated to a summer festival of football in the Netherlands.

Article by Gareth McKnight, a prolific sports news writer from Sportslens.com

  • mockmook

    Very nice advertisement for a betting site disguised as an article.

    Thanks EQ!!!

    • Steglitz49

      When you watch sports in the EU, almost all the ads are betting ads.

      This is a bit frightening in the sense that people including some quite young ones are losing money left right and center. There will be many poor retirees.

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  • Steglitz49

    A preview of today’s ladies FA Cup final at Wembley might have been more timely than this.

    Hopefully the EQ will have write-up of the FA women’s Cup final.

  • Tom F

    France should be the favorite. They’ve have a nice balance of experience & youth, athletic & technical players. Their new coach(since fall of last year) has brought a more faster paced, men’s style to the team that has proven very effective. The trick for opposing coaches will b how to counter this.
    In the meantime, so called favorites, Germany,has it’s usual injury problems with Laudehr, Leupolz & Goessling, but poor starting choices by their first year coach, Stefi Jones, has hampered them too. Her starting back line is way too slow, which has forced her to use her best player, Marozsan, as a defensive mid, instead of on the attacking end. Luckily she’s got a 2nd squad(the subs), that’s way better than most of the starting players. Germany’s chances will then depend on which team she finally decides to use.
    Watch out for dark horses like Norway, Holland & Denmark. I think I prefer them over England/ The 3 Lioness have chose their squad all ready, and it’s a more experienced one instead of a speedier at that. Faster paced players like Aluko, Dowie, Daly, Lawley & Galton weren’t chosen, and that weakness will show up on the playing field.
    Another pre fav, Sweden, will suffer this time by arguably the faster player in the world, Sofia The Stick Jackobson, NOT there, since she’s recouperating from an ACL

    • Steglitz49

      The 16 teams in this Euro-17 demonstrate that WoSo has come of age. Only the top 2 in each group go through; no best 3rd placers.

      Sweden and Germany being in the same group (B) can’t meet again till the final and France will play the winner of Germany’s group in the SF. Holland as hosts will have a slightly easier path to the final — but it could be anyone.

      Grp A: All good teams. Nor=NL more or less =Den >Bel. Thus, a slip by one against tother can be dire.
      Grp B: Ger>Swe>Italy>Rus — but both Italy and Russia have been getting better and, as you note, no Sofia Jakobsson for Sweden. Hence, She can not be certain to finish as a top 2.
      Grp C: France > CH = Austria = Iceland
      Grp D: Eng>Spain>Scot>Portugal

      Finland is the only Nordic team not to qualify. Scotland’s head coach, the Swede Anna Signeul, is taking charge of Finland after Euro-17.

      • Alex

        Germany and France can meet in the semi finals if they top their groups? Need to recheck my calculations then, I’ve messed up!

        I’d argue Switzerland are stronger than Austria or Iceland, but otherwise this is pretty much correct. Groups B+D should be somewhat straightforward, and France should dominate C, but the other places are very hard to call.

        What about the Faroe Islands? Don’t you count them as Nordic?

        • Steglitz49

          The 5 Nordic countries are: Den, Fin, Ice, Nor and Swe.

          The Faeroe Islands, like Greenland, “belong” to Den — which Ice used to — but in football the Faeroe Islands are considered a separate nation (don’t know about Greenland) a bit like Scotland, Wales and Northern-Ireland.

      • Tom F

        out of the Scandinavian countries I really do like Norway the most. The Hegerberg/Caro combination is the best one,two punch in all of woso. Same could be said of the new Berge/Mjelde CB combo/ They’re still lacking a midfielder like Stensland that did yeoman’s job on 2013, but maybe someone will step up to plate Another dark horse candidate is Denmark. Pernile Harder has proven in my book that she’s the best player in the world when she joined Wolfsburg and put her team way ahead in the Bundesliga standings.
        I’m not too keen about Sweden; their going to miss The Stick more than the Swedes men’s miss Lord Zlatan. There, I wrote it. I just insulted your God, sue me for treason!

        • Steglitz49

          At least one but probably only one of Nor, NL and Dk must lose out unless Belgium outperforms.

          It is a pity that the groups are a bit unbalanced but that will always be the case. With 4 of 5 Nordic countries having qualified, I guess they could have had a Nordic pod son they did not meet each other in group matches.

          Sweden being in the same group as Germany may have lucked out unless they slip up against Italy or Russia, of course.

    • FawcettFan14

      I was disappointed by Sampson’s squad choices. And I say this as someone who appreciates his innovation and flexible coaching style. He left a lot of deserving players out. Galton and Daly are pacy, Daly can pull off great finishes, and they both hustle every minute they are on the field. Playing in the U.S. league might have cost them. Davison and Carter are other FAWSL-based players who are fast and skilled.

      • Steglitz49

        I don’t understand why he declared so early. Has he given a real reason?

        • Alex

          He’s on BBC2 atm, maybe they’ll ask him at half time or after the game.

  • Alex

    Germany are favourites as always but look weaker than before following the retirements after the Olympics, their backline is shaky and the coach is unproven. Still having won the previous 6 tournaments you can see why it would be inadvisable to bet against them.

    France have their best shot yet of winning a major tournament, they actually look the real deal under Echouafni. So many world class players in that team, if they play at the level they are capable of nobody will be able to stop them in this tournament.

    England have the next best squad but are still someway behind and really struggle to get results against Germany/France. As good as they’ve been under Mark Sampson, they still only have one win in five against Germany, and none in four against France.

    • Alex

      Sweden won a silver medal last year but only by playing very defensive football and relying on penalties to see them through, I highly doubt that would pay off again, and I don’t think they have enough quality in their side to play a more open style against the stronger teams.

      Norway, Netherlands and Denmark all have some top quality players but just not enough of them. Having Hegerberg/Miedema/Harder isn’t enough if there are other players in the squad who aren’t good enough to play in the top leagues in the world, let alone the top teams. Also having all been drawn in the same group one will be going home early, and another will likely face off against Germany in the next round, so that cuts all their chances significantly.

      Spain are worth a mention, a lot of people wrote this side off after their poor showing at the World Cup, but they’ve bounced back really well since then. Their league is improving, with Barcelona going further than ever in the champions league but still having to battle on the domestic front. They’ve got some top quality young players too, so are probably the most likely to catch up to France/Germany in the coming years. They are unbeaten so far this year, with wins against Japan, Canada and Norway at the Algarve Cup. Still don’t have anywhere near the talent of Germany or France though, so it would be a big upset if they beat one of them.

      • Alex

        Switzerland have some quality players but even less depth than Norway/Netherlands/Denmark, Scotland have the same problem but even worse. Iceland are tough to beat but can only play one way. Belgium are a good young team but would really struggle against any of the big sides and they have a very tough draw, same is true for Austria. Italy, Russia and Portugal all struggled through qualifying and will have to over perform to even reach the knockout stages.

        In short, Germany or France will win. I don’t think anyone else really has a chance, the gulf in talent between Germany/France and everyone else is huge. Any other team is basically relying on those two blowing their own chances and then just being the best of the rest, which is made harder as if both win their groups they will not meet until the final.

        • mockmook

          Oh c’mon — the gulf between France/Germany and England is not huge.

          • Alex

            Germany and France both have great depth as well as having world class players who are considered among the best in the world in their positions.. How many of England’s players could you say that about? Probably only Bronze.

            Maybe huge is the wrong adjective but there is a definite drop off in quality from Henry/Abily to Scott/Nobbs or Mittag/Maroszan to Taylor/Carney, it’s not that England’s best players are bad, they just aren’t on quite the same level.

          • mockmook

            I suppose I see England as a group, and as a team, they seem to be able to go toe to toe with anybody.

          • Steglitz49

            France has had depth for years yet their history is one of glorious failure when it matters — 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Why would they be any better in 2017?

          • Alex

            Well they’ve got the talent so it surely has to come together eventually. And they do look much improved under the new coach.

          • Steglitz49

            I give you the new coach. He seems to be something else and fresh.

            The French are fine in friendlies but when serious tournaments come along, they melt into a pool of drool.

          • Ethan

            I actually think Scott might be considered among the best in the world at CM, and Houghton definitely is considered among the best at CB.

      • Steglitz49

        Sweden were able to win that medal by going through as one of the best 3rd place teams. That will not be possible in Euro-16 with only the top 2 in a group advancing.

        Sweden playing so poorly in their group games led the USWNT to under-estimate them. With a competent ref crew who had known and applied the laws of the game, penalties would not have been needed on the Glorious 12th. Hopefully the refs and touch-judges in Euro-17 will be up to the mark.

        Norge, NL, Dk and Swe are pretty even. The downside is that the 3 first are in the same group (A) so one of them will go home to an early bath.

        Spain played exceedingly well in Euro-13 and their qualifying for WC-15 was easy, which made their limp performance in WC-15 truly amazing and flaccid. Impotent does not really apply in their case, more like WTF happened.

    • mockmook

      Just as France is “learning to win”, I think England can do the same — perhaps even this year.

      • Alex

        Maybe I’m being too harsh based off of spending the last 2 decades watching England’s men’s team fail at major tournaments, but I just don’t see it happening.

        • Steglitz49

          The last tournament that England’s men did anything in was 1966. Granted by being drawn against Brazil in 1970, the true final was their group match won by Brazil 1-0 on a goal by Jairzinho.

          • Alex

            Knocked out of two semi finals on penalties in the 90’s, certainly a better effort than Sweden have put in!

          • Steglitz49

            In 1986 England’s men were cheated by a certain player. In 1990 they lost on penalties.

            In 1994 Sweden lost 0-1 to Brazil in their SF. They drew 1-1 in their group game. Brazil won the WC in a pro while Sweden took the bronze. That 3rd place match is best remembered for the high quality of refereeing by a chap from the UAE.

    • Steglitz49

      It is easy to forget that there are another 13 teams in this Euro-17. Though a few of them will merely make up the numbers, as I typed elsewhere the fact remains that only the top 2 in a group will go through to the knock-out stage, there being no best 3rd place teams.

      Thus, any speculation about who might be in the final needs to try to weigh who will win their group and who might be second. In all groups, a slip-up against a lower team could be disastrous if not fatal.

      One things is certain: because they are in the same group (B), Germany and Sweden can’t meet again till the final!

      • Alex

        I typed up the other 13 in replies to this one, sadly whenever I write a long post on here it gets automatically marked as spam, so I had to split it into 3 posts.

        • Steglitz49

          I would not put any money on Sweden. This is partly because of injured players like Sofi Jakobsson not being available but also because Pia is prone to reverting to her old hands and favourites, as she did in the OG-16 final.

          • Alex

            Agreed. Sweden will likely get through the group, but probably behind the Germans. Playing whoever tops group A won’t be easy for them, and neither will any of the games past that.

          • Steglitz49

            Provided that the NL keep it together, they could get to the final.

            In that qualifying tournament for OG-16, Sweden only went through because of a massive NL defensive blunder. Up to then the NL were cruising and Sweden had no answer.

          • Alex

            True, but they also lost to Belgium not so long ago. I really don’t want to back anyone too strongly in that group, it’s too closely balanced.

          • Steglitz49

            The safe money is always on Germany.

  • mockmook

    Congratulations EQ — solely due to the un-viewability of your site on my mobile device, I finally put an AdBlocker on my iPhone.

    So, now, instead of potentially getting something for a few ads — YOU GET NOTHING and you’ll like it!!!!

  • mockmook

    Does anyone have links for the big euro games today?

    • Steglitz49

      The FA women’s Cup Final is live on the BBC. You can usually find Auntie Beeb on various internet sites. Coverage starts at 5pm London time which is 11 am EST.

      • mockmook

        Thanks, actually 5 PM BST which means 12 noon EDT

        (both time zones are on daylight savings time)

        • Steglitz49

          Thanks for keeping me right. At least 11 am would have been an hour too early. It would have been a lot worst if I had got the mix-up vice-versa.

          • mockmook

            Thanks again for the info on the BBC!!!

            (BBC Two for those playing at home)

  • guest

    OL demolishing PSG. Alex, Ada, ELS have scored

    • mockmook

      Link to video?

      • Ethan

        I don’t have a link to the game, but you can see goal clips here: https://twitter.com/olfeminines?lang=en (if that’s helpful in any way).

        • mockmook

          Thanks!!!

        • Steglitz49

          Just watching those 3 forwards interact at top speed is amazing. They pass to each other with gay abandon and don’t hog the ball.

          They must be awfully strong too the way they jump into each other’s arms when they score. Getting any one of them at full pelt waist high must be quite a whammy.

    • Steglitz49

      Ernie Els is a male golfer from South-Africa.

  • Ethan

    Just going by twitter clips, but it looks like Morgan may have picked up a hamstring injury, which could put her in jeopardy of missing both upcoming finals depending on severity. Le Sommer’s had a very influential (and most likely very good) game, and Morgan did score Lyon’s third.

    • Steglitz49

      The Champions League final is on June 1st. Plenty of time to be OK.

      Lyon’s 3rd what? 3rd red card?

      • Ethan

        I think “pick up” kind of works, but I meant to say “score”.

        • Steglitz49

          Verily.

          Lyon is not among the worlds 20 richest soccer clubs but that forward line must be worth a bit: Morgan, Ada Hegerberg and Le Sommer. Ada’s sister Andrine will be in action in about an hour’s time in Wembley.

          • Ethan

            And Morgan and Le Sommer are comfortable and good enough out wide that Precheur’s been able to play them all on the pitch at the same time on a few occasions like today.

          • Steglitz49

            and, only Ada is not spoken for.

      • Ethan

        Yeah, that’s why I said depending on severity. I just remember one time years ago Robben was out for five weeks due to a hamstring injury, and then he picked another one up soon after coming on for his first appearance back.

        • mockmook

          Ugh, I’ve seen nagging hamstring injuries wreck a players whole season in American football.

          • Steglitz49

            football as in soccer in America or grid-iron?

          • mockmook

            grid iron

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you. The patron saint of which is St Lars — or Larry in American idiom.

        • Breakers fan

          Yeah, you have to fight the urge to return. You may have had them. I have and you want to not feel that twitch there at all, ideally. And that takes time. The severity determines how much time it takes. Haste makes waste. 5 weeks can become 5 months pretty easily if you’re too itchy to get back. Hopefully the coaching staff realizes this and errs on the side of caution and patience, putting the long-term ahead of the short term.

          • Ethan

            Well, given her experience with that ankle injury, Morgan and co should definitely be on the cautious side. The situation with Heath actually reminded me about Morgan’s ankle issue. Hopefully, her back injury doesn’t turn into a chronic issue.

          • Breakers fan

            I respect how slowly they’re going with Heath.

        • kernel_thai

          Didn’t look like ur typical hamstring tear. She was just sort of pushing off it while defending Lawrence. Lyon is calling it a “strain”

    • htm222

      I’d love to see Morgan healthy for a stretch of more than 2 games at a time.

    • kernel_thai

      Yes that was a great ball from Morgan that sprung the play. Also nice to see how willing Hegerberg and LeSommer r to make that extra pass.

      • DNG

        “Also nice to see how willing Hegerberg and LeSommer r to make that extra pass.”

        This really should be our expectation of all players.

        • Steglitz49

          Only the truly greats do that. It is part of the reason why they become truly great. They play for their colleagues in their teams and know they have nothing to fear by being generous.

  • FawcettFan14

    Will Euro 2017 follow in the footsteps of Euro 2016 and see underdogs progress to the knockout rounds? Let’s see Belgium and Spain in the semifinals!

    • Steglitz49

      Why not Iceland?

  • htm222

    Lloyd is playing forward it looks like.

    • mockmook
      • Alex

        Mel Lawley gets the start too. Asllani and Ross not even on the bench.

        • Steglitz49

          Are they injured? Kosse has played well for them all season.

          • Alex

            Not as far as I’m aware. Too many options though, someone had to miss out anyway.

          • Steglitz49

            Kosse is too slight for the modern game. If there was more of her, like Marta or le Sommer, Asllani would be OK. Nevertheless, she is an excellent player.

            Do you think City will get rid of Asllani at the end of the season? Chelsea look like letting go of Lindahl.

          • Alex

            I thought they only gave Lindahl a new contract quite recently? They’d be crazy to get rid of her.

            As for Asllani, hard to say.. Ultimately I think they’ll value their young English players like Stanway, Parris and Lawley, but then if Lloyd is leaving they might just keep everyone else in attack unless they have plans for more signings.

          • Steglitz49

            You may be right about Lindahl. I have not followed her story much but maybe they have settled their differences.

          • Ethan

            It seems like Ross has been injured for a few games now. (I don’t remember that being specifically said though.) I haven’t watched any Manchester City games outside of the Lyon matches, but Asllani was very good in that first leg. Great plays and touches off of very limited opportunities on the ball.

          • Steglitz49

            Thank you.

            Duggan and Stanway as subs make sense.

    • Alex

      Better for them to have her there, she doesn’t run enough, Christiansen brings so much more energy to the midfield.

    • mockmook
  • Bill West

    Since this article was by Gareth McKnight, why the hell did ‘equalizer staff’ get the byline? At least you had the decency to credit the real author at the end.

    • mockmook

      Doubt Mr. McKnight will mind since this was more an advertisement than an article.

  • kernel_thai

    So just scanned the article so I may have missed something but is there an easy way to watch this BIG woso event in the states? If not then it’s not really a watershed moment.

    • Steglitz49

      There is always a way to watch over the Internet. Find it.