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The European Women’s Championship gets under way on July 6 and the Netherlands will be hoping to defend their crown in England. The Dutch are the holders following their triumph on home soil in 2017, and they will not give up the trophy without a fight.
The Netherlands head into the tournament as one of the favorites to go all the way. It will not be easy – after all, Germany are the only side that has won back-to-back European Championships. But the Dutch are in good shape and they should be there or thereabouts at the business end of the competition.
The big question relates to how the Netherlands will get on without the coach who led them to success five years ago. Sarina Wiegman will be in charge of England this month, not her home country. But the Dutch have a gifted squad and they should not be written off despite the loss of Wiegman.
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The Netherlands are joint-third in the list of pre-tournament favorites, level with France. Spain and England are the only two teams who are considered to have a better chance of lifting the trophy on July 31 than the Dutch.
The Netherlands qualified for the tournament in style, accumulating 30 points out of a possible 30 to finish on top of a group which also contained Russia, Slovenia, Kosovo, Turkey and Estonia.
Following the departure of Wiegman last year, the Netherlands turned to Mark Parsons. The Englishman has never managed a national team before, but he did some good work in coaching roles with Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns in the United States.
Very few foreigners have taken charge of the Netherlands men’s national team, but the country’s FA were happy to hand the reins of the women’s side to a non-Dutch speaker. Parsons is known to be a hard-working coach who was extremely well regarded in the US.
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
The Netherlands have been drawn in Group C. They will begin their campaign against Sweden in Sheffield on July 9, before a meeting with Portugal in Leigh on matchday two. The Dutch will conclude the group phase with a game against Switzerland back in Sheffield.
If they make it through to the knockout stage, the Netherlands will face a team from Group D in the quarter-finals. If they finish first in their group, they would likely take on Italy or Belgium in the last eight. But if the Netherlands are the Group C runners-up, they could be paired with France in the first knockout round.
The Netherlands won the European Women’s Championship for the first time in 2017. The host nation beat Norway, Denmark and Belgium in the group phase, qualifying for the knockouts with maximum points. The Dutch then beat Sweden 2-0 and England 3-0 to set up a final against Denmark, which they won 4-2.
Their best ever showing on foreign soil came in 2009, when the Netherlands reached the semi-finals. This summer will only be their fourth appearance at the competition, having failed to qualify for any of the first nine editions.
It is hard to look beyond Vivianne Miedema, one of the world’s best female footballers. The Arsenal striker has scored 92 goals in 110 caps for her country, and at 25 years of age she is approaching her peak. Miedema and Barcelona winger Lieke Martens are undoubtedly the stars of this team.
England was awarded the hosting rights by default, as it was the only country to submit a bid before the deadline. UEFA confirmed England as the hosts of the Women’s Euro 2022 in December 2018.
The tournament was originally due to be held in 2021. However, the men’s Euro 2020 was delayed for a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, so UEFA also moved the women’s equivalent back by 12 months.
There are a total of 10 stadiums being used for this tournament: Wembley Stadium (London), Old Trafford (Manchester), Bramall Lane (Sheffield), Stadium MK (Milton Keynes), the Brentford Community Stadium (London), the New York Stadium (Rotherham), Leigh Sports Village (Leigh), St Mary’s (Southampton) and the Amex Stadium (Brighton).
The semi-finals will be held at Bramall Lane and Stadium MK on July 26 and July 27 respectively. The final is set for Wembley on July 31.
Soccer fans based in the United States can watch the Women’s Euro 2022 on fuboTV.
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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