All 16 qualifiers for Euro 2022 in England have now been decided.
The competition was originally supposed to take place in 2021, but the knock-on effect from the coronavirus pandemic saw it pushed back by 12 months and re-branded to mark the new year. It is almost the exact line-up as in 2017 – 14 of the 16 countries are the same – with Scotland and Portugal replaced by Finland and plucky Northern Ireland.
Here, 90min breaks down everything you need to know about each side, detailing their routes through to the tournament.
How they qualified: Hosts
Previous best: Runners-up (1984, 2009)
England go into this tournament on home soil with high expectations of winning their first major international silverware, having reached the semi-finals of the last Euros and each of the last two World Cups.
The Lionesses have been poor since the 2019 World Cup and a lack of competitive football probably hasn’t helped. But plenty of England players will at least have been to the Olympics before the Euros, while new manager Sarina Wiegman will be in charge by then.
Wiegman led Netherlands to glory in 2017 and will have a plenty of emerging English talents at her disposal, as well as the old guard.
How they qualified: 1st in qualifying Group I – W8, 24pts
Previous best: Winners (1989, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013)
Germany have historically dominated this competition during its near 40-year history, winning eight of 12 tournaments, including six in a row between 1995 and 2013.
It is therefore extremely difficult to look beyond them as a strong contender this time and they are the highest ranked team in this competition – with only the United States ranked higher by FIFA.
Quarter-final exits came as a huge shock for Germany at Euro 2017 and the 2019 World Cup, so there will be an element of setting the record straight and proving doubters wrong next year.
How they qualified: 1st in qualifying Group A – W10, 30pts
Previous best: Winner (2017)
Netherlands hosted the last Euro tournament and took full advantage, with a golden generation of players winning all six games en-route to lifting a first ever major international trophy.
Since then, the Dutch squad have also been to the World Cup final and will be one of the fancied teams next summer, as the bulk of what was a young squad in 2017 remains.
Vivianne Miedema was already an established international goalscorer in 2017 but the Arsenal striker will still only turn 26 while the tournament is going on.
How they qualified: 1st in qualifying Group B – W9, D1, 28pts
Previous best: Runners-up (2017)
Despite a rather patchy World Cup record, failing to qualify for four of the last five tournaments and winning only one World Cup match since 1995, Denmark have a strong Euro history.
The Danes have gone at least as far as the semi-finals on six occasions, only failing to reach that stage in three of the nine tournaments they have qualified for. They got to semis in 2013 and were losing finalists last time out in 2017.
Chelsea striker Pernille Harder is Denmark’s star name and was named the best female footballer in the world by The Guardian in the 2020 edition of their annual list.
How they qualified: 1st in qualifying Group C – W6, 18 pts
Previous best: Winners (1987, 1993)
Norway’s heyday was between 1987 and 2000 when a golden generation won the World Cup, European Championship (twice) and the Olympics over a 13-year period.
But despite that era coming to an end and not lifting a trophy since, their Euro record remains decent. That is because the Norwegians have at least reached the semi-finals in four of the last five tournaments, including two finals.
Euro 2017 was an unfortunate blip, losing all three games. That was also the last tournament at which superstar striker Ada Hegerberg played.
How they qualified: 1st in qualifying Group F – W7, D1, 22pts
Previous best: Winners (1984)
Although they haven’t won a trophy since the inaugural Euros way back in 1984, Sweden can always be considered a threat at major international tournaments.
The Swedes have been remarkably consistent at continental level over the years, only failing to reach at least the semi-finals in two of the 10 Euro tournaments they have played at.
They have also finished third at two of the last three World Cups and were responsible for denying the United States an Olympic medal of any colour for the first time ever in 2016.
How they qualified: 1st in qualifying Group G – W7, D1, 22pts
Previous best: Quarter-finals (2009, 2013, 2017)
France are the great underachievers when it comes to international women’s football. Despite possessing many world class players, fourth place finishes at the 2011 World Cup and the 2012 Olympics are the only times the French have been beyond a quarter-final.
Their last three Euro tournaments in 2009, 2013 and 2017 have all ended at the last eight stage, as have their last two World Cup appearances and their last Olympics.
But France are still near the top of FIFA’s world rankings, and will be determined to put right those wrongs.
How they qualified: 1st in qualifying Group H – W7, L1, 21pts
Previous best: Group stage (2017)
This is only the second time that Belgium have ever qualified for a major international tournament, having topped a relatively favourable qualifying group.
The target for 2022 will be to improve on their performance in 2017, which saw the Belgians eliminated at the group stage after winning only one of their three games.
They won’t be the lowest ranked team in this tournament, but an expectedly low seeding is likely to given them a tough group draw and that could make things difficult.
How they qualified: 2nd in qualifying Group F – W6, D1, L1, 19pts
Previous best: Quarter-finals (2013)
Iceland have never made it to a World Cup or Olympic Games, but the Nordic islanders have become a regular feature of the Euros and have now qualified for four tournaments in a row.
Although they lost all three games in both 2009 and 2017 and went home early, Iceland did make it out of the group stage in 2013 to reach the quarter-finals.
Star player Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir joined Lyon from Wolfsburg in 2020 and the knockout stages could be possible for Iceland again if they get a good result early on.
How they qualified: 1st in qualifying Group D – W7, D1, 22pts
Previous best: Semi-finals (1997)
Spain stand a good chance of being the next European country to join the global elite and have steadily closing the gaps on the likes of England, France and Germany in recent years.
The Spanish squad is dominated by players from Barcelona, who have emerged as one of the top clubs in Europe and there has been noticeable tournament improvement over the last decade.
Spain have been to the quarter-finals of each of the last two Euros, while their World Cup performance improved from 2015 and 2019 and they were only narrowly knocked out by eventual champions United States in the latter.
How they qualified: 1st in qualifying Group E – W7, D1, 22pts
Previous best: Semi-finals (2005)
Finland will be back at an international tournament for the first time since 2013, with failure to qualify for Euro 2017 ending a run of three consecutive finals appearances.
It would be a surprise to see the Finns match their previous best performance and get to the last four, or even make the knockout stages at all.
That said, they have an eclectic squad made up of players scattered across league all over Europe, including plenty from Sweden, and a few from France, Spain, Italy and England.
How they qualified: 2nd in qualifying Group G – W6, D1, L1 19pts
Previous best: Semi-finals (2017)
Austria were surprise semi-finalists at Euro 2017, which was their first and still only major international tournament, having never qualified for a World Cup or another Euros, until now.
What’s more, the Austrians were actually unbeaten in 2017 as well, only getting knocked out when they were beaten on penalties by Denmark in the semis.
Prior to that, Austria had topped a challenging group ahead of France, Switzerland and Iceland, as well as beating Spain on penalties in the quarter-finals.
How they qualified: 2nd in qualifying Group B – W8, D1, L1 25pts
Previous best: Runners-up (1993, 1997)
Italy were strong in the 1980s and 1990s, twice reaching the final of the Euros, only to suffer a decline in the 2000s. However, they have come back stronger more recently and were briefly considered a potential dark horse at the World Cup in 2019.
In that tournament, Italy won a tough opening game against Australia and thrashed Jamaica to get to the knockout rounds, before then beating China.
2022 will be about improving on a disappointing Euro 2017 that saw them go home early.
How they qualified: Playoff winners vs Portugal
Previous best: Group stage (1997, 2001, 2009, 2013, 2017)
Russia are looking to get past the group stage of a European Championship for the first time at the sixth attempt. In 15 games at the finals, they have won just a single game, which was in 2017.
Conversely, Russia have twice reached the knockout stages of the World Cup, getting to the quarter-finals in both 1999 and 2003, which overlapped with their early Euro failings.
The entire Russian squad that goes to the Euros in 2022 is likely be based at domestic clubs.
How they qualified: Playoff winners vs Czech Republic
Previous best: Group stage (2017)
Euro 2022 will be just Switzerland’s third appearance at a major international tournament, previously making it to the World Cup in 2015 and the last Euros in 2017.
The latter was mixed. They lost a tight opening game against Austria that could have defined their tournament had it gone the other way, beat Iceland and drew against France.
They have some good players based at top clubs, including Lia Walti at Arsenal, Ramona Bachmann at Paris Saint-Germain and Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic at Barcelona.
How they qualified: Playoff winners vs Ukraine
Previous best: N/A
Northern Ireland have exceeded all expectations just by qualifying for Euro 2022 and are the only country without any previous experience of at least one major international tournament.
The decisive playoff came against Ukraine and finished 4-1 on aggregate over the two legs.
The majority of the squad are based at clubs in Northern Ireland, although a handful do play in the WSL or Women’s Championship in England, like Rachel Furness and Simone Magill.
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