UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 ticket ballot application window officially open as countdown to tournament kicks off in style

·5-min read
The public ballot opened at 19.00 (BST) after the UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 draw on Thursday 28 October
The public ballot opened at 19.00 (BST) after the UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 draw on Thursday 28 October

The countdown to UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 is underway as a star-studded line-up descended on Manchester for the hotly-anticipated draw ahead of next year’s England showpiece.

The globe’s football stars traded plush green pitches for swanky red carpets on Thursday as the ticket ballot application window officially opened after the event at Victoria Warehouse at 7pm.

England aces past and present were all in attendance as Fara Williams, Karen Carney, Kelly Smith and Lucy Bronze all strutted their stuff down the red carpet.

The tournament kicks off at Old Trafford on July 6 where Sarina Wiegman’s England will raise the curtain against Austria – having also been draw in Group A against Norway and Northern Ireland.

And it will reach an expected record-breaking crescendo at Wembley Stadium on July 31 as 16 nations bid to emulate the exploits of Netherlands in 2017 and lift the coveted crown.

The competition is expected to more than double the total record attendance for a UEFA Women’s EURO event – currently 240,045 for Netherlands 2017 – and England boss Wiegman, who guided Netherlands to EURO glory back in 2017, said: "It starts to feel real now - now we know, everyone knows. We can start preparing for things.

“We always prepare the same anyway. From my character, I like to play different teams and changed. It doesn't matter now, but it's a challenge to play against a team you don't know and you've never played before. Whoever is in the group, we have to play, and just chill out.

"Buy tickets! The opening game is going to be massive, when the crowd is there, they will be our 12th woman behind us. We just want the fans to help us put in a great performance."

Lucy Bronze was part of the England side to go down to Netherlands in the EURO 2017 semi-finals and added: "It's going to be exciting.

"I think the pressure is there, being the home nation, but it's only what you perceive it to be. We can look at it like 'there are going to be so many more eyes on us,’ but equally, there are so many more eyes supporting us as well.

The tournament kicks off at Old Trafford on July 6 and finishes at Wembley Stadium on July 31
The tournament kicks off at Old Trafford on July 6 and finishes at Wembley Stadium on July 31

"So we have that 12th person in the stadium, supporting us. Arguably, no nation is going to have the same as us. We've developed a lot, certainly since I've been involved.

“We've reached semi-finals of Euros, of World Cups. This team now has that experience of getting a little bit further - we just need that little push to get to the end.”

The sell-out crowd anticipated at Old Trafford is set to surpass the current attendance record at the 2013 Final – 41,301 – while the attendance expected for the Wembley finale is also set to leapfrog the current European record for a women’s game of 80,203 – set at London 2012.

Nine host cities have been selected for the competition including London, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton, Brighton & Hove, Milton Keynes, Rotherham, Trafford and Wigan & Leigh who make up the locations that will welcome women’s football’s most highly-rated stars.

England will face Northern Ireland in a home nations derby in Southampton on July 15.

And Northern Irish midfielder Rachel Furness said: "It's exciting. The preparation we've got having recently played England and recently played Norway means we’re really excited.

"It was like Christmas waking up this morning. It's fantastic for the country.

"Being professional in the build-up, we have high expectations in our camp. Yes, we got beat 4-0 at Wembley but we held our own for 65 minutes. Our girls go to work 9-5 every day - the possibilities are endless with our small country."

Austria head coach Irene Fuhrmann is relishing the prospect of her team playing at Old Trafford and said: “It's a huge honour for us to play England in the opening game - it will be a big crowd, big atmosphere, and it's just an honour for our country and for a team like Austria to play them in such a game.

“It's every athlete's dream to play in front of such a big crowd and we just need to try and enjoy it.

Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses have been drawn in Group A with Norway, Austria and Northern Ireland
Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses have been drawn in Group A with Norway, Austria and Northern Ireland

“Football writes its own stories, and for us nothing changed - we're still the underdog. Nothing changed in 2017, and we need everything including the best performances and luck to come through but football has written so many stories in the past.”

Former England captain Rio Ferdinand, who played at Old Trafford for over a decade through a decorated playing career, said: “Fans shouldn’t miss out on their chance to be at the biggest women’s EURO ever and enter the ticket ballot now.

“I can’t wait to witness Wembley Stadium for the final – its due to be the biggest European crowd for a women’s football match ever.

“What a moment for the women’s game that will leave such a massive legacy, inspiring huge numbers to be part of it in the future, whether its playing or watching!

“It will definitely [bring about] more awareness of the women’s game. If girls out there get to a game or watch the tournament on TV (for free!) and think you know what, I want to play football, for fun or have aspirations to one day be an International footballer. Then amazing. Everyone deserves the chance to play.”

The UEFA Women’s EURO England 2022 ticket ballot application window is now open and closes 16 November. For more information and to enter the public ballot for tickets, visit www.uefa.com/womenseuro/ticketing

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