Football: Women’s Euros 2017 Quarter Finals Preview

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Women’s Euros 2017 is proving to be the most successful edition yet, with the most coverage, highest attendance and largest pot of prize money up for grabs. With the group stages now concluded, here is how the remaining 8 team’s line-up as the quarter finals approach. Yes, England are through, and no, Iceland, fortunately, are not.

Netherlands versus Sweden, 29th July

Going into the competition, the host nation were considered by many the dark horse who could cause an upset given the chance. Three games with three wins under they’re belt and they have exceeded expectations, much to the enjoyment of the home crowd, and are considered a team who could go all the way. Keep an eye out for Spitse who has two goals from the point already, and if Sweden’s discipline in the box isn’t squeaky clean, I’m sure she’ll be happy to make them pay.

Sweden will be disappointed with themselves despite making it through to the quarter finals as they lost their last and crucial game against Italy 3-2. Had they won that they game, they would have been able to avoid the inform Netherlands and play Denmark for a spot in the semis. However, experience could be an important factor in this matchup, with Sweden being just one of three teams to win the championships and with another 4 semi-final finishes under their belt, they know what to expect.

Prediction: 2-1 Netherlands. Although Sweden have the experience, the Netherlands are the rising superstars within women’s football, and with what will likely be a sizeable crowd behind them, I think they will have what it takes to eek out a win.

 

Germany versus Denmark, 29th July.

Germany have one of the best leagues for women to play professionally and this shows in their national record, having won the last 6 European Championships. They haven’t breezed through the group stage though, although they finished top they struggled to get open play goals, 3 of their 4 goals have been from the dot. That said, their wealth of experience will come in handy with the pressure now racking up.

There’s not much to say about Denmark, they opened with a 1-0 win, followed that up with a 1-0 loss and then rounded off the group stage with another 1-0 win. They had some great form in 2016, winning all but 1 match but they’ve been unable to carry this into the new year, having a rather mixed bag of results. Having said that, they can pose a threat and did make it to the semi finals back in 2013.

Prediction: Germany 2-0. I think that even with Germany misfiring somewhat so far, they will have the skill to win this game without too much issue.

 

England versus France, 30th July.

England’s women’s certainly don’t mess around as they win 3 from 3 to easily finish top of their group. They opened their campaign with a blistering 6-0 win over Scotland and followed this up with convincing, if more conservative, wins of 2-0 against Spain and 2-1 over Portugal. Leading goal scorer, Jodie Taylor has netted 4 goals, despite not being included in the line-up for the final group game. With such convincing performances, England for many, have shot to the top of the list for real contenders.

France were seen as the heavy favourites going into this tournament. They haven’t lost a game for over 10 months but despite that only just managed to scrap through to the quarter finals with a late goal by Abily to secure a draw against Switzerland.  When you consider their other two opponents were Euro’s debutants Iceland and Austria, many expected to win the group 3 games from 3. Something will need to change if they wish to progress further.

Prediction England 2-1 (penalties). England have never beaten France but that is about the only stat going against them on this one. France will be missing their captain due to her picking up two yellow cards in the group stages, combined with the fact that England haven’t conceded more than one goal a game for their last 22 games. I think it will be a close run thing, but I think (hope) that England can pull it off.

 

Austria versus Spain, 30th July.

Austria have been producing all the surprises this year, with it being their first ever major tournament not many would have put money on them topping their group. They have however, and are now eyeing up further progression, something that looks more likely after their comprehensive 3-0 win over Iceland a few days ago. With a different member of the squad scoring each of their five goals they have shown that they are a team where everyone is a potential threat, we haven’t seen the last of these plucky underdogs yet.

It was a nervy qualification for Spain with them finishing on 3 points along with Scotland and Portugal. They showed their skill against Spain but were outclasses by England in their second match. Perhaps luck was against them as they lost to Scotland 1-0, hitting the woodwork three times but failing to convert.

Prediction Austria 1-0. I could be accused of purely just wanting to fuel the fairy-tale story but they have shown they are able to get the ball into the net, whereas Spain have now been blanked in their previous two games. Whatever happens, it will be a thrilling match.

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