UEFA Women's Euro 2022 - Who is competing? A breakdown of all 16 teams heading to England
The latest edition of the UEFA Women's European Championship takes place in England this summer as Europe’s top sixteen international sides go head-to-head in order to determine Europe's best. The tournament, orginially scheduled for 2021, begins on July 6 with the final taking place at Wembley Stadium on July 31.
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The Lionesses come in as one of the favourites on home soil and with three successive semi-finals in their last three tournaments, there is no better opportunity to go one better and lift a first major trophy.
Manager Sarina Wiegman successfully lead her native Netherlands to the title in 2017 – beating England along the way – so all the elements are in place for football to ‘come home’ at Wembley on July 31.
Unbeaten in their five previous European Championship matches, Austria’s only blemish in the competition is a penalty shootout defeat to Denmark in the semi-final of their debut tournament in 2017.
Captained by recently released Arsenal defender Viktoria Schnaderbeck, Austria will come into the tournament as outsiders once again but won’t be taken for granted following their surprise run five years prior.
The two-time winners and four-time runners up suffered a humiliating group stage exit in 2017 but bounced back to reach the World Cup quarter-final in 2019 where they were beaten by England.
Seeking revenge when the two meet again in Brighton on July 11, Norway travel to England also attempting to restore their standing in the women’s game - and welcome Lyon legend Ada Hegerberg back to the squad after a self-imposed five-year exile.
The outsiders will be competing in their first international tournament after beating Ukraine in a two-legged playoff.
Baring any major surprises, the competition is set to be seen as another stage of development for the team having only moved to a professional setup following their qualification.
The team do, however, boast a world record holder in the form of Everton forward Simone Magill who scored the fastest ever international goal in women’s football for the Green and white army against Georgia in 2016.
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The record eight-time winners saw their dominance of the competition halted with a shock 2-1 quarter-final defeat to Denmark last time out.
Manager Martina Voss-Tecklenburg lifted the trophy four times as a player and will hope that winning mentality transmits to her players, in particular Bayern Munich star striker Lea Schuller whose goals will be key to their progress this summer.
Losing finalists in 2017, few are expecting a similar run in England although with Chelsea’s Penille Harder – the nation’s all-time leading scorer - it would be unwise to write them off.
The former two-time UEFA Women’s Player of the Year is coming off a successful WSL winning campaign with Chelsea and should she help her side navigate a tough group, will have her sights set on making right the disappointment of 2017.
Despite years of perceived underachievement on the big stage, Spain are now one of the most feared sides in the world and will look to capitalise at the Euros this year.
Alexia Putellas is the jewel in the Spanish crown and all eyes will be on the Barcelona star and her clubmates including Patricia Guijarro, Irene Peredes Andrea Pereira to justify La Roja’s tag as tournament favourites.
Although the luck of the draw has placed them in a tough group, Finland will be hopeful of causing an upset or two.
The team will be encouraged following their unbeaten qualification campaign, finishing ahead of Portugal and Scotland, in which Linda Sallstrom bagged ten goals – something she will look to continue in England.
Netherlands' team players celebrate with the trophy after winning the UEFA Womens Euro 2017 football tournament final match between Netherlands and Denmark
Image credit: Getty Images
The holders and 2019 world cup finalists will have their work cut out to defend their trophy but will certainly be confident of doing so with free-scoring pair Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens leading the line.
The impact of losing Wiegman in the dugout remains to be seen although replacement Mark Parsons appears to have transitioned into the role smoothly enough to maintain the team’s winning synergy so far.
The first ever European Champions are yet to repeat their success of 1984 despite a number of near misses since – although they did win this year’s Algarve Cup.
Arsenal’s Stina Blackstenius will be one to watch as she looks build on an impressive first six months in North London having arrived in January, and will want to help the Swedes overcome the disappointment of defeat in the Olympic final in Tokyo to Canada on penalties.
Having made their first appearance in the tournament five years ago, a narrow group stage exit should provide encouragement this time around.
A further bonus will be having Barcelona’s Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic among their ranks, who could make a difference.
Perhaps fortunate to qualify on account of replacing banned Russia who beat them in the qualifying playoff, Portugal will need to prove their worthiness of a place in the competition.
Another side making just a second appearance, they too will look to improve on going out in the group stage in 2017.
On the pitch, France look relentless and boast a number of players from Champions League winning Lyon in their side including Wendie Renard, Delphine Cascarino and Griedge Mbock Bathy and well as PSG stars Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Kadidiatou Diani.
However, quarter-final defeats in their last three Euros and last two World Cups may serve as something of a mental hurdle they will need to overcome if they are to realise their ambitions in England
Despite being one of the teams to beat in the early years of the competition and regularly reaching the semi-finals, Italy have never won the tournament and not gone beyond the last eight since their last appearance in the final in 1997.
A shootout defeat to Sweden in the final of this year’s Algarve Cup suggests improvements have been made and Le Azzure could well see themselves as a dark horse at the Euros.
Having recently repelled England for an hour in their recent 3-0 friendly defeat, Belgium will look to frustrate more high profile opponents.
Should they achieve something approaching defensive stability, they will look to Janice Caymen, Tessa Wullaert and Tine De Caigny, who all have a keen eye for goal as their nation’s three all-time top scorers.
Playing their fourth Euros in a row, Iceland will hope to improve of their record of just one victory in the finals way back in 2013 against Netherlands.
They come into the tournament off the back of a defeat in the final of the 2022 SheBelieves Cup to the USA, and will look to Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir – a two-time Champions League winner with Lyon – for inspiration.