Women's Euro 2022 teams, star players and predictions - our definitive guide to the 16 countries

·21-min read
Women's Euro 2022 teams, star players and predictions - our definitive guide to the 16 countries
Women's Euro 2022 teams, star players and predictions - our definitive guide to the 16 countries

England is solely hosting a major international football tournament for the first time in 17 years this summer, as Women’s Euro 2022 takes centre stage in what promises to be a competition like the women’s game has never seen before.

Attendance records will be smashed during the event, with the cumulative attendance from the previous Euros in Holland in 2017 (240,045) likely to be more than doubled this summer - with at least 500,000 tickets expected to have been sold by the time the first ball is kicked.

On the pitch, the Lionesses will seek to lift their first ever major trophy, and England’s first for a men’s or women’s side in 56 years, as one of the top contenders in a wide-open race.

However, the competition will be fiercely competitive with France, Olympic finalists Sweden, bookmakers’ favourites Spain, holders Holland and eight-time winners Germany also among an extensive list of credible challengers.

Telegraph Sport’s complete guide to the 16 teams profiles the managers, star players and likely fates of all the nations going for glory this summer.

Group A

England

  • Head coach: Sarina Wiegman

  • Captain: Leah Williamson

  • Best Euros performance: Runners-up (1984 and 2009)

  • Euro 2017 result: Semi-finalists

  • World ranking: 8th

  • Predicted finish: Winners

Who is their coach? Having guided her home country Holland to glory at the most recent Euros in 2017 and to a World Cup final in 2019, Sarina Wiegman is one of the most respected coaches in the sport and is on a mission to win more silverware. The two-time winner of the Best Fifa coach award is yet to lose a match in charge of England.

Who is their star player? Lauren Hemp, who has been voted as the PFA Young Player of the Year a record four times, is set to light up this tournament and could end the summer as a household name. The Manchester City winger is a special talent and will delight fans with her pace and trickery down the left wing.

How do they play? England have deployed a 4-3-3 system under Wiegman, but that is usually adapted into something resembling a 4-2-3-1 with Manchester City’s Keira Walsh and Arsenal’s Leah Williamson deployed in a double pivot of holding players in midfield. They play out from the back, on the floor, and their biggest threats come down the flanks, with Lauren Hemp on the left and options including Beth Mead or Chloe Kelly on the right wing.

Best Pointless stat: Midfielder Jill Scott, 35, is the longest-serving international player in their squad, having made her senior international debut back in August 2006. This summer’s tournament will be the 10th of Scott’s career, including two Olympics.

Chances of victory in four words: This is their time.

Norway

  • Manager: Martin Sjogren

  • Captain: Maren Mjelde

  • Best Euros performance: Winners (1987 and 1993)

  • Euro 2017 result: Group-stage exit

  • World ranking: 11th

  • Predicted finish: Quarter-finalists

Who is their coach? Martin Sjogren has been in charge of Norway since December 2016 and oversaw the run to the quarter-finals of the last World Cup - where they were knocked out by England - following a disappointing exit at the group stages of Euro 2017. He got the job after impressing when guiding Linkopings to the Swedish title with a side featuring current Chelsea stars Pernille Harder and Magdalena Erikssson.

Who is their star player? Lyon superstar Ada Hegerberg is back in the Norway squad after a five-year absence, having stepped away from her national team in 2017 to protest at a perceived lack of respect for female players. Her return in April, which followed positive talks with newly-elected president of the Norwegian FA, Lise Klaveness, has come just in time for her to shine at these Euros. She is the Women’s Champions League’s all-time record scorer with 59 goals.

How do they play? Norway largely set themselves up in a 4-3-3 formation during qualifying, and Barcelona winger Caroline Graham Hansen will be highly dangerous out wide. Several of the squad will be familiar to Women’s Super League viewers, including Chelsea duo Guro Reiten and Maren Mjelde, Arsenal’s Frida Maanum, Manchester City wide player Julie Blakstad and Manchester United pair Maria Thorisdottir and Vilde Boe Risa.

Best Pointless stat: Former interim England and Team GB head coach Hege Riise is Norway’s record appearance-maker with 188 caps.

Chances of victory in four words: Talented, but not likely.

Austria

  • Coach: Irene Fuhrmann

  • Captain: Viktoria Schanderbeck

  • Best Euros performance: Semi-finalists (2017)

  • Euro 2017 result: Semi-finalists

  • World ranking: 21st

  • Predicted finish: Group-stage exit

Who is their coach? Irene Fuhrmann became the first Austrian woman to obtain the Uefa Pro Licence coaching qualification and stepped up from being the national team’s assistant to the top job in 2020. Under her predecessor, Dominik Thalhammer, Austria made their major tournament debut at the 2017 Euros and caused a surprise by knocking out Spain in the quarter-finals.

Who is their star player? Bayern Munich midfielder Sarah Zadrazil is in the peak of her career at 29 and has a superb reputation, enhanced amongst UK viewers when she scored a wonder strike against Chelsea in the 2021 Champions League semi-final second leg at Kingsmeadow.

How do they play? Against England in a World Cup qualifier last year, Austria proved very tricky to break down and that has been a key theme because they have only conceded five goals in World Cup qualifying so far and let in just three during qualifying for these Euros. That’s partly because of the agility between the posts of their Arsenal goalkeeper, Manuela Zinsberger, but it would be wrong to call them a purely defensive side as they offer a dangerous threat on the counter.

Best Pointless stat: Austria was the original birthplace of the croissant, now traditionally seen as a French pastry.

Chances of victory in four words: The knockouts at best.

Northern Ireland

  • Manager: Kenny Shiels

  • Captain: Marissa Callaghan

  • Best Euros performance: First appearance

  • Euro 2017 result: N/A

  • World ranking: 47th

  • Predicted finish: Group-stage exit

Who is their coach? Former Kilmarnock men’s manager Kenny Shiels has earned praise for overseeing Northern Ireland’s first-ever qualification for a major tournament but has also courted significant controversy. He received heavy criticism for saying that women are “more emotional than men” and therefore concede goals in quick succession, after a defeat against England in April. Shiels, 66, apologised for those comments and was publicly backed by the squad.

Who is their star player? Liverpool midfielder Rachel Furness has had a stellar career in England with successful spells at clubs including Sunderland and Reading, before helping the Merseyside club win promotion back to the WSL last season.

How do they play? Against England in April, Northern Ireland sat deep with five across the back and tried to restrict space for their opponents, but they will have to take far more risks going forward against Austria and Norway in their first two matches in this group if they are to have any chance of going through. Picking up any results though would be a major shock for a side who only began training full-time in January and have been punching above their weight.

Best Pointless stat: Southampton, the host city for all three of Northern Ireland’s group games, produced the first winners of the Women’s FA Cup in 1971.

Chances of victory in four words: Did well to qualify.

Rachel Furness (right) is Northern Ireland's star player - GETTY IMAGES
Rachel Furness (right) is Northern Ireland's star player - GETTY IMAGES

Group B

Germany

  • Head coach: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg

  • Captain: Alexandra Popp

  • Best Euros performance: Winners (1989, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013)

  • Euro 2017 result: Quarter-finalists

  • World ranking: 5th

  • Predicted finish: A shock group-stage exit. The nature of the draw means a big team is going to have to crash out early

Who is their coach? Martina Voss-Tecklenburg won this competition four times as a player and spent six years in charge of the Swiss national team before taking over her home nation in 2019. Her preparations for this campaign were hindered by the unfortunate absence of at least 17 players who could have been picked for her squad for February’s Arnold Clark Cup, where her side finished bottom and winless, but with key players now back fit she has an immense depth of talent at her disposal.

Who is their star player? Lea Schuller has been in great form for Germany, while her Bayern Munich team-mate Lina Magull caught the eye with a terrific free-kick against England at Molineux in February. But this squad has a number of players with experience of winning things with Wolfsburg and Bayern - keep an eye out for Tabea Wasssmuth, who scored four times in two games against Chelsea for the former last season.

How do they play? Despite the absence of injured Lyon midfielder Dzsenifer Marozsan and Chelsea’s Melanie Leupolz, who is having a baby, the Germans remain very strong in midfield and Voss-Tecklenburg’s variable 4-3-3 is their most likely setup.

Best Pointless stat: Germany were European champions for 8,162 consecutive days between March 26 1995 and their elimination from the quarter-finals of Euro 2017.

Chances of victory in four words: Never rule them out.

Spain

  • Head coach: Jorge Vilda

  • Captain: Alexia Putellas

  • Best Euros performance: Semi-finals (1997)

  • Euro 2017 result: Quarter-finalists

  • World ranking: 7th

  • Predicted finish: Runners-up

Who is their coach? Jorge Vilda has been in charge for seven years and previously saw many of these players successfully come through the youth ranks. Now the pressure is on like never before as expectations in the Spanish women’s game have risen sharply amidst Barcelona’s advances in the sport

Who is their star player? Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas is widely regarded has the best player in the world for at least the past 18 months and she was instrumental as Barcelona won the Champions League in 2021, as well as reaching the final in 2022.

How do they play? Expect possession-based football with this side, passing the ball out from the back through Mapi Leon and dominating the play with their midfield three, the Barca trio of Alexia, Aitana Bonmati and Patricia Guijarro.

Best Pointless stat: Spain’s national anthem, Marcha Real, is one of only four that does not contain any words.

Chances of victory in four words: Their best chance yet.

Alexia Putellas could be one of the stars of the tournament - GETTY IMAGES
Alexia Putellas could be one of the stars of the tournament - GETTY IMAGES

Denmark

  • Manager: Lars Sondergaard

  • Captain: Pernille Harder

  • Best Euros performance: Runners-up (2017)

  • Euro 2017 result: Lost final

  • World ranking: 15th

  • Predicted finish: Quarter-finalists

Who is their coach? Former Red Bull Salzburg youth-team coach Lars Sondergaard inherited a side that had reached the final of Euro 2017, but they failed to qualify for the 2019 World Cup. However, since then, progress has resumed and - although his team are in the ‘group of death’ - they might just cause an upset.

Who is their star player? Chelsea forward Pernille Harder remains the world’s most expensive transfer, after arriving in England for a fee in excess of £250,000 and, at 29, she is in the peak years of her career at the perfect time for this tournament.

How do they play? Sondergaard’s team often like to use a wing-back system with three across the backline, and Signe Bruun - who spent the latter half of last term on loan at Manchester United - is among their central striker options, along with fit-again former Manchester City striker Nadia Nadim.

Best Pointless stat: Denmark’s flag, the Dannebrog, is the oldest continuously-used national flag in the world.

Chances of victory in four words: Not to be underestimated.

Finland

  • Manager: Anna Signeul

  • Captain: Tinja-Riikka Korpela

  • Best Euros performance: Semi-finals (2005)

  • Euro 2017 result: Did not qualify

  • World ranking: 29th

  • Predicted finish: Group-stage exit

Who is their coach? Anna Signeul previously spent 12 years in charge of Scotland and oversaw a shock victory over Spain in the last Euros’ group stage, albeit it was not enough to see her side go through. She faces another tough task here in the strongest group in the tournament, and most people will expect Finland to finish fourth in this one.

Who is their star player? Tottenham’s veteran shot-stopper Tinja-Riika Korpela will need to have a strong campaign between the sticks to give Finland any hope, and her club team-mate Eveliina Summanen will be another one to watch in the middle of the park.

How do they play? Having qualified for the Euros for only the fourth time, Finland are underdogs. They look set to line up in a classic 4-4-2 system.

Best Pointless stat: The only own goal of the last Euros hosted in England in 2005 was scored by a Finland player, Sanna Valkonen.

Chances of victory in four words: What a tough group.

Group C

Holland

  • Head coach: Mark Parsons

  • Captain: Sari van Veenendaal

  • Best Euros performance: Winners (2017)

  • Euro 2017 result: Champions

  • World ranking: 4th

  • Predicted finish: Quarter-finalists

Who is their coach? Surrey-born Mark Parsons, 35, is in the unusual position of being an English coach who is managing Holland at the same time that a Dutch coach is managing England but, just like Sarina Wiegman, he is very well-thought-of within the sport. His coaching CV includes stints with top American clubs Portland Thorns and Washington Spirit, after previously being on the staff at Chelsea.

Who is their star player? Arsenal icon Vivianne Miedema is the Women’s Super League’s all-time record goalscorer and will be one of the biggest names involved at this summer’s Euros. Many will be backing her to win the Golden Boot, not least after she netted 10 goals at last summer’s Olympics, but the holders won’t be able to rely on her alone. Winger Lieke Martens, who recently competed a move from Barcelona to PSG, could have another good tournament.

How do they play? The Dutch will deploy a 4-3-3 formation and opponents should watch out for Wolfsburg’s versatile former Arsenal forward Jill Roord, who can switch between attacking midfield and the wide forward positions and makes dangerous runs from deep. It will be interesting to see how quickly fit-again former Arsenal midfielder Danielle van de Donk resumes a regular spot back in the starting side, having recently recovered from Achilles surgery.

Best Pointless stat: A reported 82 million people watched the 2019 World Cup final between Holland and the USA on TV, nearly five times the country's population.

Chances of victory in four words: A tricky title defence.

Vivianne Miedema will be eyeing the Golden Boot - GETTY IMAGES
Vivianne Miedema will be eyeing the Golden Boot - GETTY IMAGES

Sweden

  • Manager: Peter Gerhardsson

  • Captain: Caroline Seger

  • Best Euros performance: Winners (1984)

  • Euro 2017 result: Quarter-finalists

  • World ranking: 2nd

  • Predicted finish: Semi-finalists

Who is their coach? Peter Gerhardsson has overseen a period of significant stability and consistency in his five years in charge, including a third-place finish at the 2019 World Cup and the silver medal at last year’s Olympics. However, it is time for his team to deliver a major title, before this crop of players pass their peak.

Who is their star player? The main strength of this Sweden side is the consistency across the team, who can usually all be relied upon to give at least a 7/10 performance without any one individual stealing the headlines. However, former Manchester City player Kosovare Asllani, 32, is among the most reliable performers out there.

How do they play? Sweden have not lost a match over 90 minutes since the pandemic began and they will not concede many goals with a solid back four. Going forward, the pace and athleticism of Fridolina Rolfo out wide is a major threat, and the midfield has a mixture of youth and vast experience, led by 37-year-old Caroline Seger.

Best Pointless stat: More than two-thirds of Sweden’s land mass is covered by forest (the rest is covered by Asllani).

Chances of victory in four words: Guaranteed to be strong.

Switzerland

  • Head coach: Nils Nielsen

  • Captain: Lia Walti

  • Best Euros performance: Group stage (2017)

  • Euro 2017 result: Group stage

  • World ranking: 20th

  • Predicted finish: Group-stage exit

Who is their coach? Greenland-born Nils Nielsen previously oversaw Denmark’s run to Euro 2017 final, knocking out the then-holders Germany on the way to being beaten by Holland in a thrilling final.

Who is their star player? PSG’s ex-Chelsea forward Ramona Bachmann is a nuisance for defences, but perhaps doesn’t quite have as much pace as she once did. Arsenal’s Lia Walti, in holding midfield, will be integral to their hopes as they face two of the best-rated sides in the competition in Group C.

How do they play? Switzerland will not be hugely burdened by great expectations as they embark on only their second Euros campaign. Nielsen is capable of a tactical switch-up but his team have recently set up with a 4-2-3-1.

Best Pointless stat: Switzerland is one of 44 landlocked countries in the world.

Chances of victory in four words: Outside chance at best.

Portugal

  • Coach: Francisco Neto

  • Captain: Ana Borges - although no official captain has been named

  • Best Euros performance: Group stage (2017)

  • Euro 2017 result: Group stage

  • World ranking: 30th

  • Predicted finish: Group-stage exit

Who is their coach? Francisco Neto has been in charge for eight years and has led Portugal to two consecutive Euros, however, they initially missed out on qualification for this tournament. Their spot in these finals was only confirmed as recently as May, when Uefa elected them to replace Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

Who is their star player? Benfica’s 19-year-old deep-lying forward Francisca ‘Kika’ Nazareth has excellent control and could be one of their most impressive talents.

How do they play? Neto’s team have sometimes played with wing-backs and at other times they’ve played in a 4-3-3, but whatever they try, this group looks extremely hard for them to escape from. They have plenty of skilful players but the calibre and strength of Sweden and Holland will be ominous.

Best Pointless stat: At the 1992 men’s Euros, when Yugoslavia were disqualified from the tournament finals because of a war, their replacements Denmark went on to win the title - might history repeat itself with another seismic shock?

Chances of victory in four words: Won’t be in contention.

Group D

France

  • Head coach: Corinne Diacre

  • Captain: Wendie Renard

  • Best Euros performance: Quarter-finals (2009, 2013, 2017)

  • Euro 2017 result: Quarter-finalists

  • World ranking: 3rd

  • Predicted finish: Quarter-finalists, again

Who is their coach? Corinne Diacre made history as the first woman to manage a team in the top two tiers of French men’s club football, but in the international women’s game it’s fair to say the jury is still out. She controversially omitted Lyon’s Amandine Henry from her squad this summer, despite the midfielder starring in her club’s Champions League final triumph in May. France are blessed with a host of talent but they have not been past the quarter-finals of a major tournament for a decade. If that doesn’t change, Diacre might not be able to keep her job.

Who is their star player? Of the star names in this France squad that weren’t dropped by Diacre for this summer, lethal striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto will hope to challenge for the Golden Boot, while some trademark headed goals from set-pieces from their towering centre-back Wendie Renard are all-but guaranteed.

How do they play? France are set to continue with the 4-3-3 system that is familiar to their dominant domestic sides Lyon and PSG, whose players make up almost half of Diacre’s squad.

Best Pointless stat: This year’s Women’s Euros will run for two days longer than the Tour de France.

Chances of victory in four words: Things won’t be dull.

The pressure is on Corinne Diacre - AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES
The pressure is on Corinne Diacre - AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES

Italy

  • Head coach: Milena Bertolini

  • Captain: Sara Gama

  • Best Euros performance: Runners-up (1993, 1997)

  • Euro 2017 result: Group stage

  • World ranking: 14th

  • Predicted finish: Surprise semi-finalists

Who is their coach? Milena Bertolini has commanded great respect in Italy since leading Brescia to two Serie A titles and has now spent five years in charge of the national team. She enjoyed an encouraging run to 2019’s World Cup quarter-finals and amidst a positive backdrop of increasing investment in the women’s game in Italy - with Serie A turning fully-professional next term - they are an outside bet to sneak into their first major tournament semi-final for 25 years.

Who is their star player? Juventus’ Cristiana Girelli netted nine times in 10 qualifying games and will be useful in attack, together with stars including her club team-mate Barbara Bonansea.

How do they play? Their passing style is easy to watch and Bertolini’s approach is adaptable, with the team having switched between backs threes and back fours in recent years.

Best Pointless stat: Italy hosted two unofficial Women’s Euros tournaments, not run by Uefa, in 1969 and 1979, prior to the official tournament’s arrival in 1984. Both the '69 and '79 finals were contested between Italy and Denmark, with each of them winning the event once.

Chances of victory in four words: Improving team, dark horses.

Belgium

  • Manager: Ives Serneels

  • Captain: Tessa Wullaert

  • Best Euros performance: Group stage (2017)

  • Euro 2017 result: Group stage

  • World ranking: 19th

  • Predicted finish: Group-stage exit

Who is their coach? Ives Serneels is the longest-serving manager in this tournament, having taken charge 11 years ago. His preparations also began early for this competition, with the Belgium squad’s camp starting way back on May 18. His team should have a good battle with Iceland but realistically, stopping France or Italy will be a tall order.

Who is their star player? Lyon forward Janice Cayman has the strongest-looking club CV in Belgium’s squad and her experience will be vital if they are to have any chance of squeezing through this tricky group.

How do they play? Belgium used a 4-4-1-1 formation when facing England in a warm-up friendly in June, and held out for more than an hour before eventually succumbing to a 3-0 defeat. They are relatively well-organised but you have to wonder where the goals are coming from.

Best Pointless stat: Belgium produces around 600,000 tonnes of chocolate per year, roughly the weight of 1.4 billion footballs.

Chances of victory in four words: A work in progress.

Iceland

  • Manager: Thorsteinn Halldorsson

  • Captain: Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir

  • Best Euros performance: Quarter-finals (2013)

  • Euro 2017 result: Group stage

  • World ranking: 17th

  • Predicted finish: Group-stage exit

Who is their coach? In 18 months in charge, former Breidablik coach Thorsteinn Halldorsson has overseen 10 wins in 14 matches to make a promising start to life in the job.

Who is their star player? Along with West Ham’s Dagny Brynjarsdottir, skipper Sara Bjork Gunnardottir offers real quality in midfield and is also a strong voice off the pitch. Earlier this year she spoke up to criticise the choice of Manchester City’s Academy Stadium as a venue for this Euros because of its size. Iceland’s Euros matches at that venue sold out quickly to leave some of the team’s friends and family unable to buy tickets.

How do they play? This is Iceland’s fourth Euros finals appearance, all of which have come consecutively, and they have established themselves as a very respectable outfit, albeit they lack the resources of the game’s giants such as Germany, France, England and Spain. They are typically a threat at set-plays.

Best Pointless stat: Across the whole planet, a third of the lava flows over the past five centuries have been spewing out from volcanoes in Iceland.

Chances of victory in four words: Better than you think.

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