Excitement growing as Euro 2022 gets underway in England

England captain Leah Williamson during a training session at St George's Park

England captain Leah Williamson during a training session at St George's Park - Credit: PA

As Euro 2022 gets underway this week, the excitement is growing in England with a major tournament being hosted in the country.

England entertain Austria at a sold-out Old Trafford in the first game of the competition, with the final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday, July 31 (5pm).

Josh Bunting takes a look at which Arsenal Women will be involved in the coming weeks.

England 

Leah Williamson will lead out the Lionesses after being named as the captain for the tournament. 

The 25-year-old is likely to play as a midfielder, but is also capable of playing at centre-back - the position she plays for the Gunners.

Williamson’s ball-playing ability will be a key component to how England break down teams this summer and that is an aspect of her game to watch out for.

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Lotte Wubben-Moy is unlikely to be a starter for England but is a good option to have.

England's Lotte Wubben-Moy during a training session at St George's Park

England's Lotte Wubben-Moy during a training session at St George's Park - Credit: PA

Physically strong, she also shines with a very good technical ability and like Williamson is a fine ball-playing defender.

The 23-year-old can also adapt into an old fashioned defender as she likes to get stuck in with a tackle, and is also good in the air and could even be a threat from set-pieces if she gets time on the pitch.

Nikita Parris possesses adhesive close control, stellar dribbling skills, improvisational vision, a searing change of pace, directness and an impressive work ethic.

Parris is unlikely to start, but she is a good impact substitute to have for Sarina Wiegman, with her pace and goal record.

England's Nikita Parris during a training session at St. George's Park

England's Nikita Parris during a training session at St. George's Park - Credit: PA

With defences tiring, Parris could be the perfect option to bring on late in games and could be England’s secret weapon to success this summer.

Beth Mead is coming into the tournament off the back of a fantastic season on an individual level.  

Mead scored 11 goals and eight assists as the Gunners finished runners-up in the Women's Super League.

She also netted a hat-trick for the Lionesses as they beat Northern Ireland at Wembley Stadium in World Cup qualification.

England's Beth Mead (left) and Netherlands' Vivianne Miedema battle for the ball

England's Beth Mead (left) and Netherlands' Vivianne Miedema battle for the ball - Credit: PA

Mead is going to be a key player at the tournament as she can play in wide areas or even as a number 9, having been in prolific form since the appointment of Wiegman.

Austria 

Manuela Zinsberger won the WSL Golden Glove award for 2021-22 and was arguably Arsenal’s most improved player last season.

Zinsberger improved her all-round performance, especially in terms of commanding her box and taking pressure off the defence. 

The Austrian number one was much more confident in her overall game and it was evident straight from the beginning of the campaign in the Champions League qualifying matches.

In a group with England, Norway and Northern Ireland, Zinsberger will need to be at her very best.

Laura Wienroither signed for the Gunners in January and impressed fans with her defensive and attacking ability.

The 23-year-old will be key to getting Austria out from a low block with her drive out from the back. 

She will look to get the ball in the wide areas as much as possible and clip balls into the area as this is a main strength of the full-backs.

Switzerland 

Lia Walti had an extremely impressive second half of the season under Arsenal head coach Jonas Eidevall.

Arsenal’s Lia Walti and Nikita Parris celebrate a goal in the Barclays FA Women's Super League

Arsenal’s Lia Walti and Nikita Parris celebrate a goal in the Barclays FA Women's Super League - Credit: PA

Walti has had to adapt to a new role in the midfield under Eidevall due to his much more aggressive high-pressing approach to the game. 

When the Swiss international isn’t there, it is very easy to see that Arsenal struggle without her anchoring the base and protecting the midfield.

Per 90 minutes she won 80 per cent of her tackles, showing she is a tough character to get past, and she is crucial for Arsenal in turning over possession and hitting teams on the counter.

Walti also made 89 per cent of blocks per game, showing her clear defensive awareness and that she is always thinking ahead of the opponent.

She also took over two more touches per 90 in the final third, while her interceptions are up from 1.26 per 90 last season to 2.26.

Noelle Maritz established herself as a regular starter at right-back under Joe Montemurro, which has continued under Eidevall. 

In total, the 26-year-old has made 49 appearances for the club, scoring two goals.

Maritz has become a fans' favourite and has won 14 major honours in her career, including the UEFA Women’s Champions League in 2014.

Netherlands 

Vivianne Miedema needs no introduction in the football world.

The 25-year-old was part of the Arsenal side that won the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title in 2018/19 and also lifted the FA Women's Continental Tyres League Cup in 2017/18.

Miedema has twice been included in the FIFA FIFPRO Women's World XI and was part of the Netherlands team that won the European Championship in 2017 and finished second at the 2019 Women's World Cup.

She has netted 117 goals in just 144 appearances during her time with the Gunners, including 23 in 39 appearances in the 2021/22 season.

Norway

Frida Maanum started the season well, before fading towards the end, but it was still a campaign that she will reflect upon with positivity. 

The 22-year-old netted three WSL goals in her debut season with the Gunners and also scored against Barcelona away from home in the Champions League.

Maanum showed she is a good all-round midfielder as she carries the ball forward aggressively and with quality.

Only Mead averaged more pressures per 90 minutes than Maanum, showing the Norwegian is a crucial point to Arsenal’s attacking play.

Norway have a lot of individual quality in their team and Maanum will be vital in both their defensive and attacking play.

Denmark

Simone Boye Sorensen probably didn’t play as many games as she would have liked in 2021/22.

The defender only played five times in the league and was rotated around in the domestic cup matches. 

In 2014 she won the Danish Football Player of the Year award for her consistent performances. 

After a spell at FC Rosengård under the guidance of Eidevall, she joined Bayern Munich in 2019 and went on to make 32 appearances.

When Denmark needed her the most, in the penalty shootout against Austria in the semi-final of the 2017 Euros, she stepped up and dispatched the decisive spot-kick. 

If needed she can also be deployed as a defensive midfielder.

Sweden 

Stina Blackstenius had a fine season after joining the north London side in January, netting six goals in WSL 11 matches.

And a key game to keep an eye out for is Sweden's clash with Netherlands on Saturday July 9 when Blackstenius and Miedema go head-to-head.

She won two Swedish league titles and three Swedish Cups in stints with Hacken and Linkopings FC, finishing the 2021 season as the top scorer in the domestic league.

At international level, the striker helped Sweden to successive silver medals at the 2016 and 2020 Olympic Games, and was part of the side that finished third at the 2019 World Cup.