(Image Credits : UEFA.com)
What a year Germany football has had in general, winning the U21 Euro and then the senior side lifting the Confederations Cup days after and now the women’s side is favorite to clinch the Women’s Euro which started yesterday but they were held by Sweden in what was a revisit to the Rio Olympic final. Germany have won all but 3 from the 11 Euro tournaments staged till now.
Utrecht will host England v Scotland on 19 July, as well as three other group games. Deventer, Doetinchem, Rotterdam and Tilburg will all stage group matches, plus a quarter-final each. Breda, which will also host four group games, and Enschede are the venues for the semi-finals, with FC Twente’s 30,000-capacity stadium in Enschede the venue for the final.
Holland, Norway, Denmark, Belgium
The Netherlands reached the last 16 of their first World Cup finals last year but are currently 10th in the world rankings, a place below Norway, runners-up to Germany at Euro 2013 and unbeaten in qualification. Denmark reached the semi-finals at 2013. Belgium are the lowest ranked team in the group but did take a point off England in qualifying.
Germany, Sweden, Italy, Russia
Germany will be clear favourites and trounced the Swedes 4-1 at last year’s World Cup, though Sweden did better under former USA coach Pia Sundhage in the Olympic Games in Rio, only to lose to Germany again in the final. Italy are showing some improvement but Russia were beaten twice by Germany in qualifying.
France, Iceland, Austria, Switzerland
France are ranked third in the world behind the USA and Germany and win this group as a canter. That’s where their problems usually begin, however, as they have a terrible record in sudden-death matches in international tournaments. Switzerland went through Euro 2013 qualifying with a 100 per cent record and Iceland beat Scotland to first place in their qualifying group. Austria are tournament novices but one of Europe’s most improved teams.
England, Scotland, Spain, Portugal
England are top seeds in this section and should finish top, though their opening match against Scotland will be full of passion. Spain beat England in their Euro 2013 group opener but face a tasty opening encounter of their own against neighbours Portugal. who have the youngest squad at the finals but are also the lowest ranked team in the competition.
The total prize money for the tournament is 8m euros (£7m) – nearly four times more than the 2.2m euros (£1.9m) available in 2013. The tournament winners will earn 1.2m euros (£1m).