Orange women defend title at European Championship: these are the biggest competitors | NOW

The Orange Women will start their hunt for title prolongation at the European Championship in England on Saturday. NU.nl lists the five biggest competitors of the team of national coach Mark Parsons.

Top favourite: England

National coach Sarina Wiegman knows better than anyone how to make a women’s team European champion: in 2017 she led the Orange Women to the first title in history. It was reason for the English federation to release the Hague from the KNVB last year.

In less than a year, Wiegman turned the English into an unbeatable fighting machine. She hasn’t lost any of the 14 games since she took over in September at St George’s Park, England’s fine national training centre.

The impressive 5-1 practice win over the Orange Women a week and a half ago underlines that England is the top favorite for the European title. The only question is whether ‘The Lionesses’ can handle the immense pressure in the football-crazed country.

Star player Ellen White (Manchester City) will especially feel the pressure from the nation. Wiegman’s greatest weapon is the breadth of the squad: all players are active at top European clubs or in the highly regarded Women’s Super League, the best competition in the world.

England

  • National coach: Sarina Wiegman
  • Star Player: Ellen White (Manchester City)
  • Number of previous European Championship participations: 8
  • Best result: second (1984, 2009)

Sarina Wiegman is the top favorite for the overall victory with the English women.


Sarina Wiegman is the top favorite for the overall victory with the English women.

Sarina Wiegman is the top favorite for the overall victory with the English women.

Photo: Getty Images

Favourite: France

The French women have never made it to the finals of an important tournament, but thanks to a strong generation of football players, they can finally step out of the shadows of the successful men this summer.

With Marie-Antoinette Katoto of Paris Saint-Germain, the team of national coach Corinne Diacre has one of the best strikers in the European Championship, while captain Wendie Renard of Olympique Lyon is still one of the best defenders in the world.

The big question is whether national coach Diacre has a good click with the players during the tournament. At the 2019 World Cup, the selection was on a collision course with Diacre because she communicated poorly and spoke badly about them in the press. Partly because of this, the French were stuck in the quarterfinals.

Diacre has asserted her authority for this European Championship: she passed Amandine Henry, one of the best midfielders in the world. Henry scored another goal for her club Olympique Lyon in May in the Champions League final that they won against FC Barcelona.

That intervention has certainly not done any harm: France won fourteen international matches in a row, including in February against the Netherlands (3-1). Now is the time to harvest for the number three in the FIFA rankings. France can possibly become the opponent of the Orange Women in the quarterfinals.

France

  • National coach: Corinne Diacre
  • Star Player: Marie-Antoinette Katoto (Paris Saint-Germain)
  • Number of previous European Championship participations: 6
  • Best result: Quarter-finals (2009, 2013, 2017)

Marie-Antoinette Katoto is the main asset of the French squad.


Marie-Antoinette Katoto is the main asset of the French squad.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto is the main asset of the French squad.

Photo: Getty Images

Favourite: Sweden

As a losing finalist at the Tokyo Olympics, Sweden is a team to be reckoned with at this European Championship. As number two in the FIFA ranking, the winner of the first European Championship in 1984 was even placed first for the tournament in England.

Unlike England and France, Sweden does not have an absolute star. Therein lies the strength of the team of national coach Peter Gerhardsson: he can draw on players from the European top and from the strong Swedish competition, which has existed since 1988. Fridolina Rolfö of FC Barcelona is the most famous player.

The Orange Women open the group stage on July 9 with a game against Sweden. Although the Netherlands has good memories of the matches against Sweden – on the way to the European title in 2017 (2-0) and the World Cup final two years later (1-0), the Scandinavian country was defeated each time – but now the proportions seem different. to lay down.

Caroline Seger deserves a special mention with Sweden. The 37-year-old midfielder has played 230 caps for the national team, making her the most experienced player at this European Championship. Seger was already there at the European Championship in 2005. The captain also seems to have a starting place at the upcoming tournament.

Sweden

  • National coach: Peter Gerhardsson
  • Star Player: Fridolina Rolfö (FC Barcelona)
  • Number of previous European Championship participations: 10
  • Best Result: Win (1984)

Routinier Caroline Seger is an important force in Sweden.


Routinier Caroline Seger is an important force in Sweden.

Routinier Caroline Seger is an important force in Sweden.

Photo: Getty Images

Outsider: Germany

Not a single tournament in women’s football goes by where Germany isn’t named as a contender for the title. With two world titles, one Olympic title and eight European titles, Germany is by far the most successful women’s team in history.

The Germans fell off their pedestal in the past decade. The Olympic title in 2016 is for the time being the last prize of the once untouchable country, which was overtaken by the United States and the Netherlands.

Given the latest results, a revival at the European Championship in England also seems an illusion: Germany lost in April in the World Cup qualifying series from Serbia and two months earlier did not win against top countries such as England (1-3) and Spain (1-1). . Yet the Germans, known as tournament footballers, can never be written off.

In the absence of the injured playmaker Dzsenifer Marozsán, Germany has to rely mainly on the internationals of VfL Wolfsburg, one of the best clubs in the world. National coach and former player Martina Voss-Tecklenburg has called up no fewer than eight teammates of Dominique Janssen, Jill Roord and Lynn Wilms, including captain Alexandra Popp.

Germany

  • National coach: Martina Voss-Tecklenburg
  • Star Player: Alexandra Popp (VfL Wolfsburg)
  • Number of previous European Championship participations: 10
  • Best result: Win (1989, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013)

Germany can never be written off for women either.


Germany can never be written off for women either.

Germany can never be written off for women either.

Photo: Getty Images

Outsider: Spain

Spain seemed to be one of the favorites for the European title with Alèxia Putellas and Jennifer Hermoso in the squad, but in a few weeks the world looks completely different. Both star players dropped out with an injury. Putellas suffered a serious knee injury on Tuesday.

As a result, Spain has become at most an outsider at the European Championship. With nine players, FC Barcelona is still the main supplier of the selection of national coach Jorge Vilda, but without the best players ‘La Roja’ cannot compete for the prizes.

Spain’s game was not as sparkling as that of last season’s losing Champions League finalist. Especially the lack of goals breaks the Spaniards in top matches.

In that respect, Hermoso’s absence is a great loss for Spain. The FC Barcelona attacker is the all-time top scorer in the FIFA ranking with 45 international goals.

With Hermoso and Putellas not among them, Spain barely has any tournament experience. ‘La Roja’ never made it past the quarterfinals at the last major tournaments. Without the absent Putellas and Hermoso it would be a miracle if that happens now, although Spain will always remain a dangerous customer.

Spain

  • National coach: Jorge Vilda
  • Star Player: Claudia Pina (FC Barcelona)
  • Number of previous European Championship participations: 3
  • Best Result: Semifinals (1997)

World Footballer of the Year Alèxia Putellas (left) is the eye-catcher at Spain.


World Footballer of the Year Alèxia Putellas (left) is the eye-catcher at Spain.

World Footballer of the Year Alèxia Putellas (left) is the eye-catcher at Spain.

Photo: Getty Images