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|England and Over 3.5||+110
|Draw and Over 3.5||+2000
|Austria and Over 3.5||+4000
The Lionesses have been preparing for this tournament for some time, and they should be too strong for Austria on opening night.
Back England to win and over 3.5 goals
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The objective for England this summer is straightforward: win the European Women’s Championship. The Lionesses are the second-favorites to triumph with various sportsbooks, with Spain the only side considered to be more likely victors.
Home advantage should help England. It is true that the team will have to deal with the added pressure that comes with playing on your own soil, but familiarity with the stadiums and the backing of partisan crowds can only be a good thing.
Five years ago, at the previous edition of this tournament, England reached the semi-finals. An impressive showing in the group phase saw Phil Neville’s team amass maximum points from meetings with Scotland, Spain and Portugal. England then edged out France 1-0 in the quarters, before going down to the Netherlands, the hosts and eventual winners, in the last four. England also made it the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, just as they had done in 2015.
So, after three consecutive tournaments of falling just short of the final, England are desperate to take the next step at the Women’s Euro 2022. In a bid to so they hired Sarina Wiegman, the coach who led the Netherlands to glory in 2017, last year. She has inherited a talented squad that looks well balanced from back to front.
There is plenty of experience within the ranks too, provided by the likes of the 30-year-old Lucy Bronze, the 33-year-old Ellen White and the 35-year-old Jill Scott, who might not start but whose presence in the group will be invaluable. Nine members of Wiegman’s squad ply their trade at club level for Manchester City, so the manager will hope that club chemistry serves England well in the coming weeks. One of those, the winger Lauren Hemp, has the potential to be one of the stars of the tournament.
Austria were the surprise package at Euro 2017 and they will relish the chance to upset the party at Old Trafford on Wednesday. They beat France to top spot in Group C five years ago, then emerged victorious over Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals. Austria were close to advancing to the tournament’s showpiece, only to go down to Denmark in a shoot-out in the semis.
It was a fantastic achievement for Austria, who were making their tournament debut that summer. Their failure to reach the 2019 World Cup means this will only be the second time they are appearing in a major competition, but their exploits in the Netherlands mean they will be taken more seriously this time around. Most pundits believe second place in Group A will be between them and Norway, with the two teams set to go head-to-head in Brighton on July 15.
Irene Fuhrmann has been encouraging her team to play proactive, front-footed soccer, but that might not be possible in this particular game. But some sides seem to relish the role of underdogs, and Austria appear to be one of them. Note, too, that the defender Carina Wenninger has gone on record to say that she believes this squad is stronger than its predecessor from 2017.
England avoided Spain and Sweden in the group stage draw, but both Austria and Norway are good enough to upset them if they are not fully focused. Wiegman’s tournament-winning experience could be vital to a squad that has not quite been able to get over that final hurdle. Ensuring the players do not get too high after victories and too low after defeats will be key.
We fancy England to get off to a winning start on Wednesday. They have been building for this tournament impressively, with impressive recent victories over Belgium (3-0), the Netherlands (5-1) and Switzerland (4-0). Wiegman is by no means a dogmatist, but she wants her team to play attacking soccer and we will see England try to make a fast start here.
If Austria can weather the early storm and get to half-time with the scores level, they may begin to fancy their chances of nicking a point. But if England can get their noses in front within the first 20 minutes, the floodgates could open. Austria will pose an attacking threat themselves, so goals for both teams is a wager we considered, but our pick is an England win and over 3.5 goals.
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|England vs Austria Information|
|Teams||England vs Austria|
|Location||Old Trafford, Manchester, England|
|Time||Wednesday 6 July 2022, 3.00 PM EDT|
|How to watch||ESPN2, fubo TV|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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