With Gareth Southgate’s squad just two games away from Euro 2020 glory, it could well be coming home at last. But with just a year to go until the rescheduled European Women’s Championship in England, could Wembley inspire back-to-back trophies?
These same crowds which have given a much-needed boost to the England team this summer could similarly help to galvanise the women’s team next year.
Like the men’s side, the Lionesses have never won the Euros before. They reached the semi-finals back in 2017 as well as the final in 2009 and 1984, yet it’s largely been a catalogue of disappointment over recent decades.
It’s Germany who are the tournament’s most successful team, lifting the trophy on eight occasions. However, after England’s men ended over 50 years of hurt against their bogey side last week, perhaps the women’s team will follow suit.
Here’s a look at the Lionesses’ chances ahead of the competition:
After Phil Neville departed for Inter Miami at the beginning of this year, the FA appointed Dutch head coach Sarina Wiegman as his successor.
Wiegman managed the Netherlands to victory at Euro 2017 and led the team to the final of the World Cup in 2019. The 51-year-old will remain in charge of the Dutch side until after this year’s Olympics, but will then take over.
For now, though, Norwegian legend Hege Riise has been put in charge of the team on an interim basis as well as the Team GB squad for Tokyo.
England haven’t had many matches since Riise came in, but have suffered back-to-back defeats against France and Canada in their last two matches.
These results are no doubt disappointing for a side hoping to compete with the best in Europe next summer, but with Wiegman likely to implement her own philosophy moving forwards, there is still plenty of time.
The advantage of having crowd support has been taken for granted across the last 18 months and Southgate’s team have especially benefited from playing the majority of their games at Wembley in this tournament.
The statistics highlight just how important home advantage has proven in past European Women’s Championships as well. In the last 11 competitions, the host nation has won the trophy on four occasions, made the semi-finals eight times and only twice failed to get out of the group.
Given that there may still be restrictions on the number of fans from overseas who can travel to England next summer, the home crowds may well operate as the Lionesses’ 12th player.
How good are the opposition?
England are in pot one of the draw alongside three other nations. These include reigning champions Netherlands, eight-time winners Germany, and France, who are ranked third in the world at present.
With the likes of Sweden, Norway and Spain in pot two and Denmark in pot three, the competition is incredibly strong and the Lionesses will likely have no easy route to the final, whatever the draw.
But if there’s one thing to remember about major competitions, it’s that anything can happen. And if this summer’s Euros are proving anything, it’s that you’ve just got to believe.News Now - Sport News