England (4/1 outright) get their Euros campaign underway against Austria on Wednesday with Sarina Wiegman’s side looking to win their first-ever major tournament.
There are plenty of expectations upon England going into this summer with many believing this squad is the best they have had in a long time.
Austria, who reached the semi-finals of the last Euros five years ago, are their first opponents in Group A (2/5 to win Group A) with Norway and Northern Ireland to come.
In eight attempts, England have not managed to win the Euros though they have reached the final on two occasions – firstly in 1984 then more recently in 2009 where they were beaten by Sweden and Germany respectively.
Last time out, they got to the semi-finals before being comfortably eaten by eventual winners Netherlands 3-0 while they have not tasted victory in the World Cup either.
The final four was their end destination in the last World Cup before they were narrowly beaten by the USA.
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England’s form coming into the Euros has been generally very good, albeit some games have been against vastly inferior opponents.
They have won each of their last six matches stretching back to January where they were held by Spain in the Arnold Clark Cup.
In that six-game spell, they have scored 30 goals and were able to score some very impressive wins against Germany and the Netherlands.
Germany were beaten 3-0 while in a recent friendly at Elland Road, the Lionesses defeated the Dutch 5-1 to lay down a marker ahead of the summer tournament.
England have many outstanding individuals who can cause teams problems in the Euros.
Ellen White is still reliable as ever in front of goal and the 33-year-old is England’s record goalscorer with 50 goals.
Lucy Bronze is another one who brings experience and class and the fact she has just signed for Barcelona – widely regarded as the best club team in the women’s game – speaks volumes.
However, Lauren Hemp may ultimately be the one to watch with the Manchester City winger arriving into the tournament on the back of a fabulous season at club level where she scored ten WSL goals and terrorised defences with her skill and pace.
Sarina Wiegman guided her home country to the Euros five years ago and she has real pedigree as a coach.
The Netherlands won plaudits for their attractive playing style in beating Denmark 4-2 in the 2017 final and she is implementing a similar pattern of play in her new job.
Winning the Arnold Clark Cup earlier this year was a good base to work from and England have been banging in the goals under her tenure so far.
Wednesday 6th July – England v Austria, Old Trafford, 20:00
Monday 11th July – England v Norway, Amex Stadium, 20:00
Friday 15th July – Northern Ireland v England, St Mary’s. 20:00
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