The hosts and the Germans have been the most dominant eleven in the national team tournament, and, in addition, they will have two more rest days than their rivals. Sweden and France, respectively, who arrived with greater wear to the penultimate stage of the contest.
LatinAmerican Post | Onofre Zambrano
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The 2022 Women's Eurocup is in the decisive phase. The four best teams are ready to play the semifinals of the tournament from this Tuesday, in which at first glance the local England and the multi-champion Germany look very strong, over the traditional Sweden and a France that left the quarterfinal phase behind. The latter had been the 'black beast' in the last three editions.
After eliminating Spain with a lot of suffering in extra time and after a brilliant group stage, England, the host country, is the main candidate to win the title for its physical power, for having the best offensive and defensive statistics, and, also because the Netherlands, monarch of the 2017 edition, is already home.
The thirteenth edition of the women's continental tournament has been played without the presence of the best player on the planet, the Spanish from FC Barcelona, Alexia Putellas. It has also seen how one of the favorites, Norway, said goodbye in the first phase with just one win and a historic 9-0 thrashing by the British team.
On the contrary, Germany and France, located this time in the second batch of favorites, have been installed among the four best. The logic was fulfilled to the letter in the quarterfinal phase, in which all the group leaders advanced, since in addition to England, Germany beat Austria 2-0, Sweden 1-0 to Belgium and France 1–0 to the Netherlands.
England vs Sweden
The first semifinal will take place this Tuesday at the Bramall Lane stadium and will be the second litmus test for the hosts, against a Sweden that, although it is true that it does not have the power of other tournaments, is always a rival to take into account due to its tradition, even more so when it does not arrive in the role of favorite.
England, as mentioned, showed character in the quarterfinals, because for the first time in the match they found themselves down on the scoreboard and, moreover, conceding their first goal against a very orderly Spain that made the game difficult for them. But once again, the British gained ground with their physical might and seized the game to equalize in the 84th minute, thanks to Ella Toone. Then, they won on a Georgia Stinway goal gem in the 96th in overtime.
As is often the case with the senior men's team, in this category England is usually a must. However, this is its big chance, as England has experienced players like defenders Steph Houghton and Lucy Bronze, as well as striker Fran Kirby, and Manchester United's young prodigy, the aforementioned Toone.
As if that were not enough, the locals surpassed the record for goals scored in a group stage with 14 and equaled the mark for the fewest goals conceded (none) held by Germany. Individually, Beth Mead surpassed the record for goals in a group stage with 5, placing herself one shy of the competition mark (6), which was scored by Germany's Inka Grings in 2005.
They also led the Euro stats with 69 total shots and 25 on target, plus a high 88.7% passing accuracy rate. But opposite, there will be a rival who does not usually miss the opportunity to reach the top of the podium.
Sweden begins to renew its long-standing squad, but continues to have veteran scorer Stina Blackstenius as its main reference. Even so, it country managed to lead group C ahead of the outgoing Dutch champions with 7 points out of a possible 9 and a very good scoring tally of 8-2.
Known as the “Tre Kronor”, the Scandinavian team won the first edition in 1984 and after that, they were finalists in 1987, 1995 and 2001. In addition, they obtained the silver medal in the 2003 World Cup and another, more recently, in the Tokyo Olympics, so we are talking about a shield with trade in these events.
His coach Peter Gerhardsson tries to mix the experience of his payroll with the talent of midfielder Hanna Bennison, an Everton star at just 19 years old. In the previous phase, they overcame the surprising Belgium with some difficulty, thanks to the agonizing goal of defender Linda Sembrandt.
Germany vs France
If in the other semi-final England is the clear favorite, in this one there is a little more parity, although the balance tilts slightly towards the German side. Germany stands out for its collective game and appears in the top 3 of almost all Euro statistics, being second in goals scored (11), third in most shots (61), second in most balls recovered (146). In addition, it is the only team that has not yet conceded goals among the survivors.
The eight-time Euro monarchs did not start as the main favorites in this version, but they became stronger with their group performance led by coach Martina Voss-Teccklenburg.
The winners of group B with a perfect score over the favorite Spain, stand out for their trio of forwards that make up captain Alex Popp, Lina Magull and Klara Buhl, but the truth is that their defensive line with Giulia Gwinn, Kathrin Hendrich, Marina Hegering and Felicitas Rauch is the one who grants them favoritism.
If there is a selection hungry for a title, that is France, which in women tends to leave debts in big events. The positive is that no matter what happens, this has been their best edition by reaching the semi-finals for the first time. In the Euro they had never passed a quarter-final (2009, 2013 and 2017) and in the last World Cup at home (2019), exactly the same thing happened to them.
The airs of revenge in those directed by Corinne Deacon were reflected in the previous match against the Netherlands, a rival that they clearly surpassed in possession and generation, despite the fact that the score was barely 1-0 and in extra time thanks to the penalty goal by Eve Perisset.
The galas stayed with zone D with 7 points and convincing wins over Italy and Belgium, plus a draw on the last date against Iceland. The experience of Wendie Renard and Marion Torrent, mixes very well with the explosiveness of the attackers Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Melvine Malard, but, at least today, it does not seem to be enough to overcome the eighth champions of the contest.