This week, one of the most important and prestigious women’s football tournaments in the world will start at Old Trafford in Manchester on Wednesday evening.

The Women’s Euro 2022 Football Tournament will see 16 top European teams battle it out for the right to become European Champions, following on from the Netherlands success on home soil back in 2017.

English fans are hoping that the Lionesses can continue their excellent recent form, which includes a 5-1 thumping of the aforementioned Netherlands team, into the tournament to land their first ever European Championship win, in either the men’s or women’s tournaments.

That would make up a little for England losing to Italy in the final of the men’s Euro 2020 finals that took place across England and Europe last summer.

However, the England team face 15 other strong nations in the tournament, many of whom have genuine hopes of being the team to eventually lift the trophy at Wembley on July 31st.

Bet365 Sport are already offering betting on who the outright winner of the tournament will be and you’ll be able to bet on the games, both pre-match and In Play when the tournament gets underway later this week.

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Let’s now take a look at how the 16 teams in this year’s event will line up against each other in the opening Group Phase of the tournament.

Euro 2022 Finals Group Stage

Group A

  • Austria
  • England
  • Northern Ireland
  • Norway

Group A Matches

  • Wed 6th July – 8pm – England v Austria (Old Trafford)
  • Thu 7th July – 8pm – Norway v Northern Ireland (St Mary’s)
  • Mon 11th July – 5pm – Austria v Northern Ireland (St Mary’s)
  • Mon 11th July – 8pm – England v Norway (Brighton & Hove Community Stadium)
  • Fri 15th July – 8pm – Northern Ireland v England (St Mary’s), Austria v Norway (Brighton & Hove Community Stadium)

England’s women start the tournament off at Old Trafford against Austria and they also face their Home Nations rivals Northern Ireland in the final game of Group A, but it will likely be the second game, against Norway that will determine whether England or Norway top this group.

They are the two powerhouses of European football in Group A and in truth, Austria and Northern Ireland will likely be battling to avoid finishing bottom of the group.

Good form and home advantage means that I feel England will do enough to win the group.

  • Prediction – 1. England, 2. Norway, 3. Austria, 4. Northern Ireland

Group B

  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • Germany
  • Spain

Group B Matches

  • Fri 8th July – 5pm – Spain v Finland (Stadium MK)
  • Fri 8th July – 8pm – Germany v Denmark (London Community Stadium)
  • Tue 12th July – 5pm – Denmark v Finland (Stadium MK)
  • Tue 12th July – 8pm – Germany v Spain (London Community Stadium)
  • Sat 16th July – 8pm – Finland v Germany (Stadium MK), Denmark v Spain (London Community Stadium)

Arguably the toughest of all the groups in this stage of the competition, Group B features 8-time winners Germany, one of the co-favourites to win the trophy this year, Spain and a Denmark side that reached the final in the 2017 tournament before losing to the Netherlands.

Finland are going to find it very tough to compete in this kind of company, but they won’t roll over and will make life difficult for the teams likely to challenge for the two qualifying spots.

This is going to be a very close call between Spain, Germany and Denmark for the top two spots and this one may well go down to head-to-head or goal difference to decide who progresses.

  • Prediction – 1. Spain, 2. Germany, 3. Denmark, 4. Finland

Group C

  • Netherlands
  • Portugal
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland

Group C Matches

  • Sat 9th July – 5pm – Portugal v Switzerland (Leigh Sports Village)
  • Sat 9th July – 8pm – Netherlands v Sweden (Bramhall Lane)
  • Wed 13th July – 5pm – Sweden v Switzerland (Bramhall Lane)
  • Wed 13th July – 8pm – Netherlands v Portugal (Leigh Sports Village)
  • Sun 17th July – 5pm – Switzerland v Netherlands (Bramhall Lane), Sweden v Portugal (Leigh Sports Village)

Group C features the current holders of the European Championship trophy, Netherlands and they and Sweden are the two very strong favourites to progress from this group as the top two.

Portugal are only competing because they replaced Russia, who were banned from the tournament due to the invasion of Ukraine, and while Switzerland are an improving side but not of the quality of the two teams likely to challenge for top spot in the group.

I think it may well be goal difference that separates the Netherlands and Sweden at the top of the group but they should qualify comfortably.

  • Prediction – 1. Sweden, 2. Netherlands, 3. Switzerland, 4. Portugal

Group D

  • Belgium
  • France
  • Iceland
  • Italy

Group D Matches

  • Sun 10th July – 5pm – Belgium v Iceland (Man City Academy Stadium)
  • Sun 10th July – 8pm – France v Italy (New York Stadium)
  • Thu 14th July – 5pm – Italy v Iceland (Manchester City Academy Stadium)
  • Thu 14th July – 8pm – France v Belgium (New York Stadium)
  • Mon 18th July – 8pm – Iceland v France (New York Stadium), Italy v Belgium (Man City Academy Stadium)

Group D should be France’s to win as they are the quality outfit in this group and I’d be very surprised if they do not win all of their three group games quite comfortably.

The battle in this group will be for second spot behind the French with Italy and Belgium likely to be the teams in contention, but don’t rule out Iceland who have developed into a decent side in recent years in the women’s game.

If there is going to be a surprise in the Group Stages, this group may provide it in the runner up spot.

  • Prediction – 1. France, 2. Iceland, 3. Italy, 4. Belgium

The top two teams in each group will qualify for the knockout phase of the tournament with the rest of the tournament schedule looking as outlined below.

Knockout Phase Of The Tournament

Quarter Finals (8pm Kick Offs)

  • QF 1 Wed 20th July –  Winner of Group A v Runner Up Group B  – Brighton & Hove Community Stadium
  • QF 2 Thu 21st July – Winner of Group B v Runner Up Group A (London Community Stadium)
  • QF 3 Fri 22nd July – Winner Group C v Runner Up Group D (Leigh Sports Village)
  • QF 4 Fri 22nd July – Winner Group D v Runner Up Group C (New York Stadium)

Semi Finals

  • SF 1 – Tue 26th July  – Winner QF 1 v Winner QF 3 (Bramhall Lane)
  • SF 2 – Wed 27th July – Winner QF 2 v Winner QF 4 (Stadium MK)

Final

  • Sun 31st July – Winner SF1 v Winner SF 2 (Wembley)

Tournament Odds

  • 9/2 J-Favs – Spain, England
  • 5/1 – France, Netherlands
  • 6/1 – Germany
  • 7/1 – Sweden
  • 12/1 – Norway
  • 25/1 – Denmark, Italy
  • 50/1 – Switzerland
  • 66/1 – Austria, Iceland, Belgium
  • 150/1 – Portugal
  • 200/1 – Finland
  • 250/1 – Northern Ireland

As you can see, there are probably seven teams in with a realistic chance of winning the tournament, from Norway down to the two co-favourites in Spain and England.

Form and home advantage is a big plus for England but they are yet to win this trophy, as are France and Spain. Germany, Sweden, Netherlands plus Norway have won the trophy before.

I do think England will get to the final, and looking at the draw, I have a sneaky feeling that the key game for the home team could be a likely second round game with Germany, if they can get past that quarter final tie, then they could win the tournament.

Of the rest, I think Sweden and Spain are likely to reach the latter stages of the tournament with one of these teams reaching the final.

I’d back England to win at 9/2 with Sweden as an each way bet for the final at 7/1.