England tackle Spain in a heavyweight quarter-final as the knockout stages of Euro 2022 get under way on Wednesday, with records already tumbling and data quirks around every corner.

The tournament has just passed its halfway stage in terms of the total number of games, with 16 of 31 having been played, and already more spectators have seen the finals in England than have attended any previous Women's Euros.

UEFA said 369,314 tickets were sold for group-stage games, with the soaring popularity of the women's game meaning the tournament attendance record of 240,055, set in the Netherlands five years ago, has been obliterated.

Sarina Wiegman's free-scoring England Lionesses have played an instrumental part in the tournament's success to date, with the host nation rallying around a team who scored a record 14 goals in the group stage, with Beth Mead's personal haul of five goals so far also a new all-time best for the group round.

Now the knockout stages await and the stakes are raised. Stats Perform, assisted by data from Opta, has looked at the tournament so far, plus each last-eight game, to see where the title might be won and lost.


The story so far

England have been the deadliest finishers, scoring 14 goals with a conversion rate of 24.6 per cent. Sweden sit next on that list, putting away 23.5 per cent of chances to net eight goals, five of which came in their final group game against Portugal.

France have scored all eight of their goals in the first half of their games, while England have hit nine before the interval and added five afterwards. The Netherlands have only scored twice prior to half-time in their games but have netted six second-half strikes, the most of all teams.

Switzerland exited after losing in painfully familiar fashion, with a second-half capitulation in going down 4-1 to the Dutch. The Swiss kept three first-half clean sheets in Group C but were pushovers after the interval, conceding eight times. In sharp contrast, all three of the goals Spain have shipped have come in the opening 45 minutes.

Spain have played the most passes overall, excluding crosses. Their total of 2,052 passes has come with an 86.0 per cent accuracy rate, while England have attempted the second highest number of passes (1,674) with a competition-leading 86.5 per cent precision.

The Spanish national team are famed for their possession-based, attractive football, teasing their way through defences with clever passes. Yet four of Spain's five goals have been headers, compared to three of 14 for England.

Mead sits top of the goal involvements list with seven (five goals, two assists), which puts her comfortably ahead of England team-mate Fran Kirby and Sweden's Kosovare Asllani, both of whom have scored once and set up three goals for a total of four involvements each.

Spain have the top five on the list of players with the most passes in the opposition half, led by defender Mapi Leon who has played 176 passes with a success rate of 90.3 per cent. For passes into the final third, Leon's accuracy dips to 83 per cent.


Best is still to come...

QUARTER-FINAL 1: Spain v England – July 20, Brighton

England have a record of played two, won two in previous Women's Euros quarter-finals, beating Finland 3-2 in 2009 and then edging France 1-0 five years ago in the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Spain have lost both of their previous games at this stage, going down 3-1 to Norway in 2013 and suffering a penalty shoot-out defeat to Austria in 2017, following a goalless draw.

Four of England's starters from the 2017 win over France have played in every game so far at these finals: Lucy Bronze, Mille Bright, Kirby and Ellen White.

England have never lost on home soil against Spain (P7 W4 D3), with the teams battling out a 0-0 draw when they last met in February. However, Spain have beaten England three times before when taking all 15 previous encounters into account, losing six and drawing six.

Including a 20-0 win over Latvia last November, England have scored 98 goals in their 17 games under head coach Sarina Wiegman, scoring an average of 5.8 goals per game and only conceding three times.

Mead's haul of five goals so far matches Jodie Taylor's Lionesses record haul from the last Euros, which won her the Golden Boot. Spain have scored five goals in total during this tournament, with five different scorers.

QF2: Germany v Austria – July 21, Brentford

Germany are one of two teams, along with England, who have yet to concede a goal. That does not bode well for Austria, who are making their second appearance at this stage after beating Norway in the last round of group games.

The Austrians will start as big underdogs against the eight-time champions (winners once as West Germany, seven times as Germany), with Germany having won 15 of their most recent 16 games when going beyond the group stages. That had been a 15-game winning run until Denmark halted it in the 2017 quarter-finals, scoring a surprise 2-1 win.

Austria might need Barbara Dunst's luck to change if they are to stand any chance. Dunst has had 11 shots and created eight chances for Austria so far in this tournament, but she has yet to score or have an assist. She had the most direct involvements in shots (19) without scoring or assisting of all players in the group stage.

QF3: Sweden v Belgium – July 22, Leigh

Sweden are the highest-placed team on the FIFA ranking list, sitting second, behind the United States. They are quietly going about their business in England, and it would be a major surprise for them not to reach the semi-finals from this tie.

Including penalties, Sweden scored more goals from set-pieces than any other side in the group stage (5). Belgium might be concerned by that, given two of the three goals they have conceded came from dead-ball scenarios.

Of the eight quarter-finalists, Belgium scored the joint-fewest goals (3) in the group stage, had the fewest shots (21), the fewest shots on target (11) and the lowest expected goals total (2.6). The Red Flames surely need to find more of a spark for this big game.

QF4: France v Netherlands – July 23, Rotherham

France will be playing a fourth consecutive match in Rotherham, a town which is twinned with the French city of Saint-Quentin.

This is also a fourth consecutive Women's Euros quarter-final for France, who have lost each time at this stage, including a penalty shoot-out defeat to the Netherlands in 2009. They were beaten on spot-kicks by Denmark in 2013, and then slumped 1-0 to England in 2017. France have lost star striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto to an ACL knee injury, so memories of fast-flowing football in their opening 5-1 win over Italy are becoming distant.

Defending their title this time, the Netherlands have lost Euro 2017 player of the tournament Lieke Martens to injury and star goalscorer Vivianne Miedema has been sidelined of late after a COVID-19 positive test.

Yet the Dutch have progressed on each of the two occasions they have reached the quarter-finals previously, with the win over France in 2009 followed in 2017 by a 2-0 victory over Sweden.

Sarina Wiegman said she was "very hopeful" of returning to the touchline for England's Euro 2022 quarter-final against Spain and revealed the Lionesses have tightened their squad bubble.

Head coach Wiegman was absent from the team's final group match against Northern Ireland after testing positive for COVID-19, and back-up goalkeeper Hannah Hampton has also come down with the coronavirus.

Wiegman said the worst of her symptoms were "a little temperature and a little coughing", and she has been able to watch team training from a safe distance, while wearing a mask.

"I'm good, I'm feeling well, actually ready to go, but still have to wait," said a healthy-looking Wiegman in a virtual news conference.

"Of course, I'm very hopeful, but we'll see what happens and we don't know. If I can't be there, I'll be there in another way."

Former Netherlands coach Wiegman would rather be at the game in Brighton, but if she does not test negative before the team travel from their London base, she will have a phone line to the England bench.

After naming the same team for each of England's three group games, Wiegman hinted she would go with that favoured XI again.

 

Spain have been hampered by the loss of star players Alexia Putellas and Jennifer Hermoso, meaning they are significantly under-strength, but they have still looked impressive at times and could test the hosts.

Their game is possession-based, and that is demonstrated by Spain having played the most passes in the opposition half – excluding crosses – at the tournament so far. Their total of 1,274 such passes puts them well clear on that list, with England second with 936 passes and France (746) down in third.

"Of course they missed two key players, but I still think they have a very good team, and they're very tight on the ball, but we've seen they have some vulnerabilities, so absolutely it's going to be a top game and I hope we'll be successful," Wiegman said.

"They're a very good team, we're a very good team too, and we want to play the best game we can and hopefully that will bring us the win. They'll probably have the ball a lot; I hope we'll have a lot of the ball too."

The COVID-19 situation worries every team, with the prospect of key personnel being forced out of important games. Tournament favourites England are doing all they can to avoid the virus circulating.

"It's very invisible, but we're trying to stay in our bubble and do the right things," Wiegman said. "When there is a positive we have to be agile, creative and continue with the ones that are fit.

"We did some more strict measurements and everyone understands. It's not the worst nightmare, it's just the situation we have to deal with."

England forward Lauren Hemp believes fans are yet to see her best football ahead of the Lionesses' Euro 2022 quarter-final against Spain, as she warned facing La Roja represented a "massive challenge".

Hosts England breezed through the group stages at the Women's Euros, recording the biggest ever win at a European Championship when hammering eight goals past Norway before rounding off Group A with a 5-0 win over Northern Ireland. 

In doing so, Sarina Wiegman's team became the first side since Germany (in 2001, 2005 and 2009) to win all three of their group games at back-to-back European Championships, having done likewise in 2017.

The Lionesses have now scored an astonishing 98 goals in just 17 games under Wiegman, remaining unbeaten throughout and only conceding three times. 

Hemp started all three of England's group games, scoring in the resounding win over Norway, but is targeting improvements on an individual level as the knockout stages get underway.

"I think it takes time, it's my first major tournament with England, and in front of so many fans it is nerve-wrecking, I'm not going to lie," Hemp said in a news conference on Monday.

"I think being consistent is something I'm striving towards and personally I don't think you've seen the best yet, there's still time, and obviously it's going to take a while and I'm still so young.

"I'm still learning every day and taking it all in my stride really. I've got a great group of players around me who are supporting me and doing amazing. 

"It's important that we carry on this run and everyone's taking so much confidence from the recent games, it's important that we carry that on in the quarter-finals."

Wednesday's opponents Spain began the tournament as one of the favourites but finished second in Group B after losing Ballon d'Or-winning winger Alexia Putellas to injury before their opening game.

While Hemp is looking forward to facing Spain at Brighton and Hove Albion's AMEX Stadium, she admits La Roja, ranked seventh in the world by FIFA, will provide a stern test. 

"I think the overriding feeling is excitement, we've played them before in the Arnold Clark Cup [a 0-0 draw in February] and that was a massive learning curve for us," she added.

"We've done all the preparation needed and it's important that we stay on track, we've got a lot of confidence from the previous games obviously, [keeping] clean sheets, scoring lots of goals, and we're in a good place as a group, it's really exciting.

"We've got a lot of respect for the teams we have played and also the team we're going to come up against, but it's going to be a massive challenge, we know that.

"Coming into the quarter-finals is never going to be easy, it's two top sides coming up against each other so we're just looking forward to it."

Meanwhile, England's preparations for their last-eight clash have been disrupted by Wiegman testing positive for COVID-19, but Hemp played down the importance of her absence from training.  

"It's been different, obviously Covid is still around and it's a frustrating thing, it's unfortunate that she's got it," Hemp said.

"But we've trained for so long for these scenarios, she's still involved in the sessions remotely, but we've still got a fantastic technical staff and it doesn't feel that different, to be honest.

"She's still there and still supporting us, whether that's remotely or in person."

Spain are "not scared" of facing England in the European Women's Championship quarter-finals and are extra motivated to eliminate the tournament hosts, according to midfielder Aitana Bonmati.

La Roja beat Denmark 1-0 at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday through a late Marta Cardona goal to set up a last-eight showdown with a much-fancied England side on Wednesday.

England won all three of their group matches, scoring 14 times and conceding none, while they have netted at an average of 5.8 goals per game in their 17 matches under Sarina Wiegman (98 goals in total).

Just as remarkably, the Lionesses have conceded just three goals across those 17 games under Wiegman and never more than once in a single contest, keeping 14 clean sheets in the process.

Spain are ranked one place above England in the latest FIFA rankings, however, and Bonmati does not see any reason for her side to fear the rampant hosts in Brighton next week.

"It's motivating," said Bonmati, who plies her club trade for Barcelona. "I'm not scared and I think my team-mates aren't scared either.

"We played against England in the Arnold Clark Cup. We know that they are a good team and they have had many good performances.

"We have seen their three group games and they did very well. But we think we can beat them if we improve our style and play better [than against Denmark]."

 

England and Spain have faced each other on 15 previous occasions, with the Lionesses (six) winning twice as many games as La Roja (three) across all their meetings.

However, Spain are unbeaten in the past two of those meetings, beating England 1-0 in the SheBelieves Cup in 2020 (1-0) and drawing 0-0 against them in the Arnold Clark Cup in February. 

Only once previously have Spain gone three in a row without defeat against England, doing so between 1993 and 1996 (four games).

Echoing the views of team-mate Bonmati, Ona Batlle is optimistic of advancing to the semi-finals, where a showdown with one of Sweden or the Netherlands may await.

"We've seen a lot of their games and I think they play really well, really good. They have a really good squad and it is not just the starting players. Everyone there is a good player," she said.

"They are very strong and they are playing in England, so they have that [home advantage]. But that's going to be a boost for us because we know everything [about them] and we are ready for them. I think we can do it."

England made it three Group A wins out of three by thrashing Northern Ireland 5-0 and Austria joined them in the quarter-finals of Euro 2022 with a 1-0 win over Norway.

Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman missed her side's final group game after testing positive for COVID-19, but the hosts made another statement at St Mary's Stadium on Friday.

First-half goals from Fran Kirby and Beth Mead set England on their way, as they became the first team ever to score over 10 or more goals in the group stage of the women's Euros without conceding.

Alessia Russo scored England's third just minutes after coming on at half-time with an excellent header and helped herself to a brace in the 53rd minute, when an exquisite turn on the edge of the box made the space for her to lash home and make it 4-0.

Kelsie Burrows summed up a miserable night for Northern Ireland when she scooped into the back of her own net.

Group A winners will face the runners-up in Group B on Wednesday for a place in the semi-finals.

Norway headed into their last group game knowing that only a win would see them through, due to their inferior goal difference after they were thumped 8-0 by England.

Austria only needed a draw, and they went ahead after 37 minutes when a superb header from Nicola Billa nestled into the bottom corner.

Martin Sjogren's side were unable to respond, so Austria will face Germany in the last eight at the Brentford Community Stadium on Thursday and Norway are heading home.

England have suffered a bump in the road on their Euro 2022 mission after head coach Sarina Wiegman tested positive for COVID-19.

The news emerged just hours before the Lionesses face Northern Ireland at Southampton's St Mary's Stadium in their final Group A game.

Dutch boss Wiegman will isolate at England's team hotel.

In a statement, the Football Association said: "England head coach Sarina Wiegman has tested positive for COVID and will undertake a period of recovery at the squad’s base camp. Assistant coach Arjan Veurink will lead the team for tonight's fixture against Northern Ireland.

"Wiegman will remain in remote contact with the players and technical staff and will be monitored regularly with a view to returning to all elements of her role as soon as possible."

England have already won their group so know their quarter-final will take place next Wednesday against the Group B runners-up, who will be Denmark or Spain.

A number of COVID-19 cases have already hit the tournament, with Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema a notable recent case.

Miedema scored twice for the Netherlands in the Euro 2017 final win over Denmark, when Wiegman was the Dutch team's head coach.

The 52-year-old Wiegman took up her appointment as England boss in September 2021, handed the task of leading the hosts into the European finals.

Wiegman appeared at an England pre-match news conference alongside goalkeeper Mary Earps on Thursday, and took training. England started their campaign by winning 1-0 against Austria before inflicting an 8-0 thrashing on Norway.

England women's coach Sarina Wiegman insists Ellen White deserves the same recognition as Wayne Rooney as the Lionesses' forward closes in on the national scoring record.

White was twice on target as England hammered Norway 8-0 as Wiegman's side recorded the biggest win in men's or women's European Championship history.

England also became the first team in any Euros to net eight goals as they sealed top spot and a place in the knockout stages.

While it was a successful outing in Brighton on a team level, White also moved just one strike behind Rooney's record 53 goals for England.

White was quick to insist that Rooney's benchmark is not her priority after the game, before online trolls posted unnecessary questions surrounding the validity of her record in the women's game.

Wiegman jumped to the defence of her star striker on Thursday as she spoke ahead of the group-stage clash with Northern Ireland, insisting talented ability is the same in the men's and women's game.

"I just talk to my squad and to Ellen. Everyone can have their opinion, but I think what she's done is amazing, really good," Wiegman told reporters.

"The player and person she is in our team – such an important role. What she has accomplished on the pitch and also off the pitch is really, really great, and she's so valuable for this team. So maybe I would say that to those people.

"It doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman – if you're great, you're great.

"For her to have achieved that, and the success she's had over such a long time, that tells you everything you need to know.

"She's been fantastic for England for a very long time, so of course it's great to have her on my team."

White will hope to at least equal Rooney's record against Northern Ireland, who have lost all eight of their previous meetings with the Lionesses, scoring just two goals to England's 44 in the process.

England star forwards Beth Mead and Ellen White will be rivals on the opening weekend of the Women's Super League season after Arsenal were handed a testing trip to Manchester City.

Mead hit a hat-trick and White scored twice as England thrashed Norway 8-0 in their second Euro 2022 group match on Monday evening. However, eyes are already turning towards another WSL campaign, which begins on the weekend of September 10-11, as Arsenal and City look to dethrone three-peat champions Chelsea.

As well as Mead, Arsenal have England captain Leah Williamson and Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema among their rich player pool, while White is joined in City's ranks by the likes of England winger Lauren Hemp, former Lionesses skipper Steph Houghton and Jamaica striker Khadija Shaw.

Arsenal finished second in the table last year, a point behind Chelsea, with City third. Chelsea begin their quest for a fourth consecutive title when they host West Ham, while Manchester United travel to Tottenham, Everton host Leicester City, Brighton and Hove Albion welcome Aston Villa, and promoted Liverpool journey to Reading.

The penultimate round on the weekend of May 20-21 could be pivotal in determining the destiny of the title as Chelsea tackle Arsenal and City make the short trip to United for the Manchester derby.

Arsenal finish at home to Aston Villa a week later, City host Everton and Chelsea travel to Reading. Liverpool and Manchester United also go head-to-head on the final weekend.

Kelly Simmons, the Football Association's director of the women's professional game, said: "We really want to capture the momentum generated from the Women's Euros this summer, which will significantly help us take this league to the next level."

The emphatic nature of England's 8-0 win over Norway came as a surprise even to Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman.

The host nation of the Women's Euro 2022 spectacularly dismantled their opponents at the Amex Stadium in Brighton on Monday, with Georgia Stanway, Lauren Hemp, Beth Mead (three), Ellen White (two) and Alessia Russo giving England an historic win.

It was the first time a team had scored seven goals in a European Championships game – in either the men's or women's tournaments – and sees England qualify from Group A as winners with a game to spare.

England were 6-0 up at half-time, the first time a team has scored as many in the opening 45 minutes of a Women's Euros game, just 24 hours after France became the first team to score five in the first half in their win against Italy.

"We didn't expect to make such a big win, but we played really well," Wiegman told BBC Sport, adding her thought in the first half was: "What's going on here?"

Speaking at a news conference, she continued: "Of course, the win, great win. The way we played, kept playing the way we did second half, kept the ball going. I'm really happy with the performance and to go through.

"It becomes easy when you're 2-0 up quickly, then we could use the momentum and play our possession game... You could tell the players enjoyed it on the pitch."

England scored twice more in the second period, with Russo bagging the seventh shortly after replacing White, who was among a number of players rested by Wiegman once the game was clearly won.

"Sometimes when you're 6-0 up, players try to do their own things, but we didn't. We kept together trying to do our own tasks," she added.

"I was a little surprised [Norway] didn't put more pressure on us. Pressure on the ball. They did play well second half. We just played our game and tried to exploit spaces."

Hat-trick-hero Beth Mead also spoke at a news conference after some celebrating, saying: "We were having a nice little sing-song... Amazing night, we deserve to enjoy it."

Mead has now scored 18 goals in the 16 games since Wiegman took charge, also adding 11 assists.

When asked where this form had come from, she said: "I couldn't tell you. I'm just enjoying every minute of my football. The way we're playing, it's just a pleasure to play with these players."

Mead was also asked what she'd be doing with the match ball, jokingly replying: "My mum might try to steal this one from me."

If some felt England had been underwhelming in their opening game win against Austria, it would be fair to say that in their second clash, the Lionesses roared.

Their 8-0 demolition of Norway at the Amex Stadium on Monday did more than just extend the longest unbeaten run in their history. It made a statement that England are ready to challenge for the Women's Euros on their own turf.

When they went seven ahead, England became the first team in European Championship history – women or men – to score so many in a single game.

Sarina Wiegman has made an immediate impact with the Lionesses since taking charge in September, with the Dutch coach having now won 14 and drawn two of her first 16 outings, scoring a remarkable 93 goals while conceding only three.

There had been some big wins already in the tournament that seemed ominous for the rest, with Spain and Germany hitting four in their opening matches while France became the first team to ever score five goals in the first half of a game at the Women's Euros when they trounced Italy 5-1 on Sunday.

England beat that record a day later, with a ruthless display seeing them lead 6-0 at the break.

An early penalty from Georgia Stanway after Ellen White had been felled got them going, and from there it seemed like every attack ended up in the Norway net.

Lauren Hemp made it two from close range despite being initially judged offside, before a brace each from Beth Mead and White gave the crowd in Brighton quite a first half to witness.

This was the first Women's Euros encounter between England and Norway, and it was one Gresshoppene boss Martin Sjogren will want to forget in a hurry.

The visitors stemmed the flow of goals in the second half, although their opponents seemed to use the opportunity to rest their legs.

Wiegman did just that as she took off White, Rachel Daly and the impressive Fran Kirby, who registered two assists, before the hour.

England had another on 65 minutes, though, as Alessia Russo, who replaced White, headed home a Lucy Bronze cross.

Mead completed her hat-trick with nine minutes remaining, tapping home after Guro Pettersen had spilled a Kiera Walsh strike from just outside the box.

Mead, who netted the only goal of the game against Austria, has now been directly involved in 29 goals for England under Wiegman (18 goals, 11 assists), with Hemp nine behind after her goal and assist took her to 20 involvements (eight goals, 12 assists).

The crowd of 28,847 were in their element, with no hostility, no jibes, just support for their team, and the familiar tune of 'Three Lions' having more than one vociferous airing.

It would be too simple to put this down to an energised showing because they were in front of their own fans, though. England played some outstanding football and earned their goal bonanza.

They look like a completely different side under Wiegman and dismantled a team only three places below them in the FIFA rankings, having 25 shots in all, hitting the target with an impressive 15.

Norway, ranked 11th in the world, looked like a deer caught in the headlights at times, but the pace and accuracy of the passing and movement was on point from their tormentors throughout.

The Lionesses are through to the quarter-finals already as group winners and can afford to rest plenty in their final Group A game against Northern Ireland before returning to Brighton on July 20 for the last-eight clash, likely to be against Germany or Spain.

England went into the tournament as one of the favourites, despite not having won it before. Their improvement under Wiegman coupled with home advantage means they are fancied by many.

Of course, we have been here before with England. Flattering to deceive, raising hopes only to have them extinguished. We all know that England expects, often in vain.

It is too early to say this feels different, but ripping apart a relatively strong opponent in such fashion has to impress even the most stubborn doubter.

Their fans certainly believe, anyway.

England became the first team to score six goals in the first half of a game at the Women's Euros, just 24 hours after France had become the first to score five.

Les Bleues took a 5-0 lead into the break at the New York Stadium in Rotherham on Sunday against Italy, eventually winning 5-1.

However, the Lionesses went one better on Monday at the Amex Stadium in Brighton as they went 6-0 up before half-time against Norway.

In fact, England's first-half haul matched the most goals scored in an entire match in the tournament's history. Germany beat England 6-2 in 2009, while England were 6-0 winners against Scotland in 2017 – a record margin.

A penalty from Georgia Stanway was followed by a goal from Lauren Hemp and two each for Beth Mead and Ellen White as England ran riot over their Group A opponents.

A win would see Sarina Wiegman's side confirm their place as group winners, which would mean playing in Brighton again in the quarter-finals.

England's Ellen White insists she is relishing the pressure of leading the line at the Women's Euro 2022, but she knows she must improve her goalscoring form to keep her place in Sarina Wiegman's team.

White is England's all-time leading goalscorer, netting 50 times in 108 international appearances since her 2010 debut.

She finished as the joint-top goalscorer as England reached the 2019 Women's World Cup final, matching United States duo Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan with six strikes and taking the Bronze Boot, but has struggled on the domestic front recently.

White only netted four goals in 22 WSL appearances for third-placed Manchester City in the 2021-22 season and spurned several decent openings in England's 1-0 win over Austria on Wednesday.

She registered four shots totalling 0.49 expected goals in the Lionesses' Old Trafford opener, both match-high figures, but failed to find the net.

Yet White was bullish when asked whether her lack of goals was affecting her, telling a media conference: "No, I'm excited to be part of this England team.

"We've got some great talent, competition, and I'm loving every minute of playing for this team.

"Ultimately, my job is to score goals, of course. We've got some great wingers in this team and midfielders, backline, everyone. 

"I've got to be in the right place at the right time and hopefully, all the training I've done, [I] will help the team any way I can.

"I think there's always pressure to keep that number nine role. We've got some phenomenal talent, and it's super competitive, and I think that's really healthy, throughout the whole squad really.

"I think that's an amazing part of this team. We have 23 players that are so talented, and every single day in training it's super competitive and pushing each other and wanting each other to do well. I think it's a good headache for Sarina.

"She's super supportive and really helped with movement in and around the box, and the vision – she's been amazing on that front."

England take on Norway at Brighton and Hove Albion's AMEX Stadium on Monday and could clinch a spot in the knockout stages with a win, depending on the result of Northern Ireland's clash with Austria.

Meanwhile, White also offered her take on the team's request to Nike to change the colour of their white shorts due to concerns over players' periods, highlighting the importance of such conversations taking place in public.

"I think it's a really great conversation to have," she said. "We play football, we are on our periods, and definitely there has been feedback with Nike about the kit. 

"Our kit is lovely, but at times, when you are on your period, you do worry a little bit about that.

"It's important we are talking about it and made aware of what we can do to help support women when they are on their periods. It's a great conversation and one we need to continue to have really."

Sarina Wiegman is delighted to have the opportunity to take on Norway forward Ada Hegerberg at the Women's Euro 2022, declaring her involvement "so good for the women's game".

Hegerberg had been absent from her national team since 2017 following a dispute with Norwegian football authorities over the disparity in pay between their male and female sides.

However, the maiden winner of the Ballon d'Or Feminin has returned to the fold for her country in the run-up to this year's Euros, scoring a hat-trick in her first game back during a 2023 Women's World Cup qualifier against Kosovo in April.

Hegerberg – a six-time Women's Champions League winner with Lyon – did not net in Norway's opening 4-1 win over Northern Ireland but was highly influential and did provide an assist.

She appears to represent the greatest threat to Wiegman's hosts England in their second group game on Monday, but the Lionesses manager would still rather have one of the world's best players involved.

Asked at her pre-match press conference if she would rather Hegerberg was not playing, Wiegman responded: "Absolutely not.

"I think every player from that level, you just hope to be in the tournament because it's so good for the women's game.

"You want all the best players in these tournaments because that helps the game.

"It's so nice to watch and that's our responsibility, too, all of us, to get the best players on the pitch, so people that come to watch the games see the best players."

In Hegerberg's five-year absence from the national team, Norway crashed out at the quarter-final stage of Euro 2017 against England.

Wiegman has not noted any change in Norway's approach for Hegerberg's return but acknowledges she makes the side much better.

"I don't think [Norway] have changed that much," she said. "I think [Hegerberg] is just a quality player that makes the level of the team higher.

"When you put another player in, she fills in her role a little differently than the other one who will play there, and she does a pretty good job."

Spain remain among the favourites to win the Women's Euros despite losing Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas to injury, according to former European champion Hege Riise, who also expects England to impress.

Putellas, who has scored 27 goals in 100 caps for Spain, was ruled out of the tournament after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury in training, leaving La Roja without one of their star players.

The 28-year-old top-scored in the Champions League with Barcelona last term, scoring 11 goals in continental competition as well as 18 on the domestic front as the Catalan giants won all 30 of their league games.

Her injury is just the latest blow to befall Spain ahead of their opening match against Finland on Friday, with record goalscorer Jennifer Hermoso also ruled out.

But Riise, who won the Women's World Cup in 1995 and the Euros in 1993 during a glorious spell with Norway, for whom she made 188 appearances, believes other players may step up in Putellas' absence.

"I've been expecting Spain to go through a few times now. And then obviously they got an injury for the key player," Riise told Stats Perform.

"So that will be a setback, of course, but maybe the team now steps out and works as a team and not individually. 

"They still do have some key players that will manage to do well, and a lot of them are playing for Barcelona, so they know how to play and know each other quite well. 

"So, I think Spain this time around can be a threat. Germany I'm not so sure about, but hopefully we'll get some surprises."

Riise did express her regret at missing out on seeing Putellas light up the tournament, however, adding: "In the women's game, when you have a world-class player, you want them in the tournament so the fans can see them in their own environment. 

"Obviously when she doesn't play you miss something, so you want the best player always to play in the Euros, World Cups and the Olympics."

Riise's own nation began their Group A campaign with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Northern Ireland at St Mary's on Thursday, and face hosts England next.

And while Riise believes Norway could test England at the Amex Stadium, she says the tournament experience of Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman could make the hosts genuine contenders. 

"I saw the opening game with England [1-0 against Austria]. First half, I think they were outstanding," Riise added. "But they should have scored some more goals, in the second half, they showed that they can be vulnerable as well. 

"But they haven't lost any games in a long, long time. So, the confidence that they have and the fans in the stands will help them to build on this. But having the fans there could be positive and negative. 

"The attention makes you more nervous, but I think they are in a good place now and Sarina Wiegman has been in the Euros final with Holland [in 2017], same in the World Cup final [in 2019]. So, she has the experience.

"For the Norway-England match, it will be close but player for player, England are better. Though a team like Norway can, if not beat them, get a good result."

England Women have asked Nike to change their all-white kit, as the shorts are "not practical" due to periods.

The Lionesses have worn their own strips over the past three years, having previously turned out in the same kit as the men's team.

But England players have now raised an issue with their white shorts.

Sarina Wiegman's side turned out in their home colours in their Women's Euro 2022 opener against Austria, a 1-0 win at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

But winger Beth Mead, who scored the only goal, revealed the team were concerned by the possibility of red spotting showing on their shorts during their periods.

"It's something we've fed back to Nike," she told The Telegraph. "Hopefully they're going to change that.

"It's very nice to have an all-white kit, but sometimes it's not practical when it's the time of the month.

"We deal with it as best we can. We've discussed it as a team, and we've fed that back to Nike."

Mead said she was "pretty laid back" about which alternative colour Nike might opt for, while Georgia Stanway added the concerns were forgotten as soon as the players took to the pitch.

"It's difficult, because we associate England with white," Stanway said.

"The home kit is unbelievable, it looks really nice. I think that's something that we can speak about as a full squad, as a group of girls.

"I think next year there is potentially a colour change going in. I think it's hard, because once you're on the grass, nothing else matters.

"I think we have a good doctor who likes to look after us. As soon as the adrenaline comes in, you could be naked and nobody cares. That's what happens when you're on the pitch, you forget about everything."

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