So we’ve already looked at the Euro 2022 rising stars, now it’s time to look at the big names we can’t wait to watch.
This is not a list of who we think the best players are at Euro 2022, it’s not any kind of ranking.
Instead it’s a list of players that we can’t wait to watch. The only rule? Keep it to one player per country.
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Let’s get started.
Ada Hegerberg – Forward (Norway)
Where better to start? This time last year, when the tournament was meant to be held, there’s a good chance Hegerberg wouldn’t have been there. Hegerberg was vocal about her dissatisfaction with the way the Norwegian federation ran the national team and told Norwegian football magazine Josimar that her time with the national team left her “mentally broken.” She was also battling back to full fitness following a serious knee injury, so last summer would have come too soon.
However in March this year Hegerberg confirmed she would return to the national team and as a result the Euros will have one of the best players in the world present. Everyone knows what Hegerberg brings now, she is one of the most dangerous forwards around. It’s going to be absolutely fantastic to see her back on the pitch at an international tournament.
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Magdalena Eriksson – Defender (Sweden)
In our first piece we didn’t have a defender. Yes we had Julie Blakstad, who plays at left-back for Norway, and Lena Oberdorf, who can play as a centre-back at times, but neither of those are out-and-out defenders.
That’s not the case with Chelsea captain Magdalena Eriksson. She’s a defender’s defender, brilliant at reading play, a force in the air and crunching in the tackle. But she’s also a modern defender, more than prepared to start Chelsea’s play from the back and allowing them to build up either with short or long passes.
Sweden have one of the most experienced squads in the tournament, with five players having over 100 caps and seven players aged 30 or over. Eriksson will bridge the gap when the likes of Hedvig Lindahl, Caroline Seger and Linda Sembrant eventually step away. She’s the perfect example for any young defenders to watch.
Vivianne Miedema – Forward (Netherlands)
Few players in world football are as dominant and dangerous as Vivianne Miedema, who might well be the best goalscorer around at the moment. Miedema is not only Netherlands’ record-scorer with 92 goals in 108 games (she actually reached the milestone a few years ago) she is also the top scorer in the history of the WSL. Oh and she was the first player to score against every WSL club.
How you stop Miedema is one of the biggest talking points about the Euros, and if teams can’t figure it out then the Dutch are going to go far. It’s going to be great fun to watch how they try and go about it.
Lucy Bronze – Defender (England)
A new signing for Champions League runners-up Barcelona, Lucy Bronze remains one of the best full-backs in the world and a key part of the way England will play, both offensively and defensively. Bronze, who admitted that she also had an offer to return from the winners Lyon, said that she couldn’t turn the Catalan giants down and was excited for the opportunity.
Bronze would be the first to admit that her time at Manchester City, after so much success, had not gone as planned. The move to Barcelona is a chance to get back on track and compete for the biggest trophies in the world. On the pitch watching Bronze is a lesson in how important a full-back can be and she’ll be key if England are to finally break their duck.
Alexia Putellas – Midfielder (Spain)
The Ballon d’Or winner was an automatic choice. Putellas came so close to retaining the Champions League with Barcelona but she still had a season that would be the envy of any player. 42 goals and 17 assists across all competitions in a remarkable campaign.
This summer could be the chance for Spain to take the final step and reach the finals of the Euros for the first time. Putellas is the headline act in a squad overflowing with confidence. Expect Putellas to line up as the left-sided central midfielder in Spain’s 4-3-3, or perhaps further forward if Jorge Vilda decides to get creative.
Pernille Harder – Forward (Denmark)
Denmark’s record scorer, and the most expensive women’s player ever, is going to be everywhere on the pitch at the Euros. Harder covers ground relentlessly, whether she plays out wide or up front depending on the different formations employed by Lars Sondegaard. In a Denmark attack boasting a wealth of options (Signe Bruun, Nadia Nadim and Stine Larsen etc) Harder is the star of the show.
As brilliantly outlined by Mia Eriksson in this article for fotbollskanalen, what has been so impressive about Harder over the past couple of years is the ease with which she had adjusted to a different style of football at Chelsea compared to Wolfsburg in the Frauen-Bundesliga. There could be more to come, and playing with Denmark sees her play a slightly different style that is a chance for fans to see her in a separate role.
Manuela Zinsberger – Goalkeeper (Switzerland)
That’s the sound you can hear of the Goalkeepers' Union rejoicing. We came really, really close to breaking our rule and putting in two players of the same nation but ultimately we went for the WSL golden glove Manuela Zinsberger over Sari van Veenendaal. Remarkably, it can feel at times that Zinsberger is a tad underrated still, but that might be down to the way people assess goalkeepers.
Whilst not from this season, there really is no better place when introducing someone to Zinsberger than this triple save in March 2021. Sometimes people may watch goalkeepers train and wonder whether some of it is for show. But the saves made by Zinsberger show the importance of training reflexes as much as possible.
Rachel Furness – Midfielder (Northern Ireland)
We end with one of the best stories of Euro 2022, with Northern Ireland qualifying for the tournament for the first time. No player had a bigger impact on that campaign than Furness, her country’s all-time top scorer with 38 goals. Furness is an all-action midfielder who can sit deep or play further forward depending on what is needed.
Furness had an exceptional season at club level, helping Liverpool to win promotion, and now she will be tasked with making lives as difficult as possible for the other teams in Northern Ireland’s group.
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