Germany are through to the knockout phases of the Women's Euro 2022 after beating Spain 2-0 in Group B, a result which also confirmed Finland's elimination following their 1-0 loss to Denmark.

Tuesday's second match was seen as the game that would decide Group B's winners, and that looks set to be Germany.

Spain were not exactly outclassed at the Brentford Community Stadium, as their chances amounted to 1.4 expected goals (xG) compared to Germany's 0.8.

But they shot themselves in the foot by gifting the eight-time European champions a third-minute lead, as Sandra Panos hit her clearance right at Klara Buhl, who cleverly evaded Irene Paredes before applying a clinical finish.

Spain kept the German defence busy and dominated proceedings for significant periods, but life got even tougher for Jorge Vilda's team in the 36th minute when Alexandra Popp beat Patri Guijarro in the air to head Felicitas Rauch's corner home.

Chances were more of a rarity in the second half, and when Merle Frohms pulled off arguably the save of the tournament so far to tip a Mariona Caldentey volley over 19 minutes from time, you got the sense this was not going to be Spain's day.

Germany ultimately cruised to victory and know a point against Finland on Saturday will secure top spot in the group.

Earlier in Milton Keynes, Denmark and Finland faced off knowing there was a distinct possibility one of them could be out of the tournament by the end of the day.

Both suffered comprehensive defeats on matchday one, meaning another loss on Tuesday would likely be a knockout blow.

It was evident almost right from the start that Finland were going to struggle, with the Danes dominating the ball and looking more cohesive going forward.

But Denmark were frustrated in the first half, with Tinja Riikka Korpela proving a reliable last line of defence in the Finland goal.

Finland did not record a shot on target until the 60th minute, though Ria Oling's long-range effort was comfortably held by Lene Christensen.

Denmark's persistence paid off 18 minutes from time, however, as Pernille Harder nodded over the line from close range after the ball came back off the bar.

Although that proved decisive, Denmark will still need to beat Spain to pip them to the runners-up spot in the group, due to La Roja's significantly better goal difference.


Five years after Sarina Wiegman's Netherlands team triumphed on home turf at the European Championship, Sarina Wiegman's England begin among the favourites to ... triumph on home turf.

Wiegman's switch to coach the Lionesses has served as a key sub-plot to the tournament, which will put women's football in the spotlight throughout July.

It gets under way when England play Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday, women taking the spotlight in a year when the men's World Cup unusually takes place in November and December.

Almost 120,000 spectators attended games when England's north west staged Euro 2005; however, the overwhelming majority were either at games featuring England, or at the final between Germany and Norway at Blackburn Rovers' Ewood Park.

That meant some games were sparsely attended, with just 957 spectators seeing France beat Italy in the group stages in Preston. This time, with the tournament boosted from eight to 16 teams since England were last hosts, over 500,000 tickets have been sold, meaning near-empty stadiums should be a thing of the past.

Here, Stats Perform looks at what to expect from the 26-day finals.

German dominance gives way as rest of Europe catches up

Germany used to be the queens of the Women's Euros, but their crown has slipped. After winning six consecutive titles, the Germans fell short at Euro 2017 when they lost to eventual runners-up Denmark in the quarter-finals.

It was all rather end-of-an-era stuff, with the rise of professionalism across Europe's most powerful and forward-thinking footballing nations only likely to be further in evidence this year. Germany, of course, are included among those powerhouses, but they have plenty of company now at the top table.

The Dutch hosts roared to glory at Euro 2017, with Vivianne Miedema scoring twice in a 4-2 victory over the Danes in the final, having demolished Mark Sampson's England 3-0 to reach that stage. Miedema joined Arsenal shortly before that tournament and has become the Women's Super League's record scorer while with the Gunners, the defining player of the blossoming WSL.

This is a tournament that was first officially staged in 1984, with Sweden beating England on penalties in Luton after the teams finished tied on aggregate after home and away ties.

From the second staging in 1987 through to 1997, the tournament was staged every two years, with Norway triumphing in 1987 and 1993. Germany – and West Germany in 1989 – otherwise swept the board and continued to do so when it became a quadrennial championship.

The mighty Germans dismissed England 6-2 in the 2009 final in Helsinki, with a Lionesses team that included Alex Scott, Kelly Smith, Karen Carney, Eni Aluko, Fara Williams and Casey Stoney overwhelmed. Another survivor from that match, veteran midfielder Jill Scott, features in Wiegman's squad this year.

Mighty Spain top list of trophy contenders

Spain are favourites with the bookmakers, and what a team they are, built on classic foundations of players from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. Their sensational midfielder Alexia Putellas could own this tournament, but the Spanish rise was checked by Barcelona's stunning defeat to Lyon in the Champions League final.

French outfit Lyon have been established titans of the women's game for years, but Barcelona looked to have surpassed them, winning all 30 of their Primera Division games last season in a display of their might. Yet on the biggest club stage of all, Barcelona, with their many Spain stars, were caught cold and slumped to a 3-1 loss.

That should give Spain's Euros rivals some hope, as should the blow that Spain suffered when star forward Jennifer Hermoso was ruled out by a knee injury.

There are plenty of credible challengers, with hosts England among them. Since Wiegman replaced Phil Neville, England have won every match under their new coach, including a 5-1 victory over the Netherlands at Elland Road in June, and they should be able to handle group games against Austria, Norway and Northern Ireland.

Expect the familiar European giants to contend. Women's football is gradually becoming big business, and the richest countries are building the best facilities and funding the game on a professional level, which is a far cry from how the game was a decade ago.

England go Dutch, Dutch go English, Scandinavians on a mission

France have left national team greats Amandine Henry and Eugenie Le Sommer out of their squad, so how they cope without that illustrious duo remains to be seen, while England are without long-standing former captain and defensive mainstay Steph Houghton, who was judged not fit enough by Wiegman after an injury lay-off.

The hosts have Barcelona's new recruit Lucy Bronze, another rock of their team for many years, while the likes of winger Lauren Hemp and strikers Ella Toone and Alessia Russo should announce themselves on the big stage. Not for the first time, England look forward-heavy, with question marks over their midfield strength. New captain Leah Williamson attended the last Euros as a fan, so this is a significant step up.

While England are coached by a Dutchwoman, the Netherlands are bossed by Englishman Mark Parsons, who had a long spell with the Portland Thorns before replacing Wiegman. The reigning champions are contenders again, given the presence of Miedema and the mercurial Lieke Martens, who has traded Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain in the off-season. The thumping by England was a jolt, but don't read too much into that result.

Denmark's Pernille Harder and Norway's Ada Hegerberg are superstar strikers in teams that might cause a surprise, Sweden sit second in the FIFA rankings so rightly fancy their chances, and then you have Germany. The eight-time winners lack the star power of their rivals and must play Denmark and Spain in the group stage, but their squad is packed with experience, so count them out at your peril.

England star Lucy Bronze insists too much pressure is placed on the team's captain and is determined to ensure Leah Williamson is supported at Euro 2022.

Barcelona defender Bronze felt the strain on Steph Houghton, who led the national side for eight years, became increasingly difficult to deal with.

Houghton is not in the squad for the continental tournament on home soil and Arsenal's Williamson has been named as the replacement captain for the competition.

Bronze hopes a collaborative approach will mean Williamson does not have to change as a person or player to fulfil the demands of the role.

"As a captain, everybody knows Leah really well," said Bronze. "Sometimes people put too much pressure on the captain, I've seen it with Steph previously. 

"But Leah is still the player that she's always been in this England squad, and she'll remain the same for us - a good person to have around, a good person to have on the pitch. 

"It will be a big moment for her but she's the same as everybody else.

"We have plenty of leaders on the pitch and in the squad who may not even step on the pitch - and it's important that we remember that as a team. 

"It's not just on one person's shoulders, it's falling on 23 players."

Bronze elaborated on the pressure felt by Manchester City's Houghton, who could not suitably prove her recovery from an Achilles injury to be picked for the Euros.

"I spoke to Steph a lot in previous years," said Bronze. "She told me about being given the captaincy so young and what pressures it put on her.

"She didn't know quite who she was as a captain and as a leader. It can be quite difficult to handle that.

"The media especially are the ones that are putting the pressure on captains because from inside the squad and even the coaches, you don't change as a person, people don't see you any differently. 

"You're the captain because you're the person that you are. It's not because you want to become something else or change who you are. It's for that reason only. 

"Steph felt that pressure a lot. Although she probably didn't admit it at the time, I know it was difficult. I was her right-hand-woman for a long time and I could see it. 

"For Leah, it's important that we have other people step up to the plate to take the pressure off her and know what it means to be a leader in this team."

Bronze played the full game as England beat Belgium 3-0 in their first warm-up game for the Euros last week, with friendlies against the Netherlands and Switzerland up next.

The Lionesses then begin their Euro 2022 campaign against Austria on July 6 rated among the favourites to go all the way.

Bronze added: "Really good [preparation so far], the excitement is definitely there.

"There are so many players in their first tournament, people like Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly and Ella Toone. 

"Just seeing their faces when they found out they were picked and that excitement just brings the buzz back to players like myself and Jill [Scott] who have regularly gone to tournaments." 

Fran Kirby has praised England manager Sarina Wiegman for her honest and "special" communication while the Chelsea star's availability for Euro 2022 was in doubt.

Kirby missed three months of action towards the end of the season due to an illness that was causing extreme fatigue.

But having returned to action and been named in England's squad for the Euros on home soil, the 28-year-old opened up on her conversations with Wiegman while she had stepped away from the game.

"Obviously, it's going to be in the back of my mind. But for me, right now, I want to make sure that I'm feeling confident going into the Euros," said Kirby.

"Leading into it I had loads of conversations with Sarina on the phone in terms of how I was feeling and how I was doing.

"She always made me feel confident in terms of if you get yourself right, then I want you to be part of the squad. 

"And for me, as a player to hear that when you're not playing, it's really nice and it's really special to hear. 

"When I speak about her honesty, I said to her, I need you to be honest, if you don't think I'm ready, then you tell me that. 

"I wouldn't want to be part of the squad if you didn't feel that I was ready to participate or to give something to the team. 

"When she said that I was in the squad, it just reaffirmed the confidence that she has in me to make a difference.

"She's been great. She's really brought this togetherness in the squad, she makes everyone feel like they're respected and that their voices are heard. 

"She's just brought this honest nature, in terms of dealing with difficult conversations when they have to be had. 

"And she also makes people feel good, she makes you feel confident in your ability, she makes you feel like you're valued in the team and that's important when you're going into a tournament." 

Kirby had previously been ruled out for much of the 2019-20 season with pericarditis, a condition affecting the fluid sac around the heart.

England beat Belgium 3-0 in their first warm-up game for the Euros last week, with Kirby coming off the bench in the second half. 

"I'm feeling really good, feeling healthy and I've been able to participate in all the training sessions and be a part of them," added Kirby.

"For me, now, I'm not really thinking about much what has happened previously, because I just want to make sure that I'm focusing on the here and now and focusing on my performance in training. 

"I have to show that I'm ready to go and that I'm ready to play and I've been able to do that in the last few weeks."

Friendlies against the Netherlands and Switzerland are up next before England begin their Euro 2022 campaign against Austria on July 6.

Sarina Wiegman called on England to be more ruthless despite kicking off their Euro 2022 preparations with a 3-0 win over Belgium.

In the first of three warm-up matches for the continental tournament, which England will host, the Lionesses triumphed comfortably at Molineux on Thursday.

It took 62 minutes for Weigman's team to open the scoring, but strikes from substitutes Chloe Kelly and Rachel Daly settled any nerves, with a late own goal from Belgium goalkeeper Nicky Evrard adding gloss to the scoreline.

"When you win 3-0 it is enough [but] I think when you go into the Euros we need a little more ruthlessness," manager Wiegman said, with the match coming one day after she had named her final 23-player squad for the Euros.

"The first half we played well, we created chances, didn't score. But we needed some more depth in the game too, more runs behind. 

"We did that a little better in the second half. It was a good result, three goals, keeping a [clean sheet], lots of players on the pitch, we used all the substitutes we could use.

"You can tell the depth of our team, because we could even bring in other players that would have an impact on the game too, so that's good."

England play the Netherlands and Switzerland in upcoming friendlies before beginning their Euro 2022 campaign against Austria on July 6.

Steph Houghton has not been named in England's squad for the upcoming Euro 2022 tournament.

Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman named her 23-woman squad on Wednesday, and included recently recovered Manchester City forward Chloe Kelly and Chelsea's Fran Kirby.

There was no place for former captain Houghton, though, who has not played since January after suffering an Achilles injury.

The Manchester City defender has appeared at five major tournaments for England and made 121 appearances so far in her international career.

Speaking at a media conference for the squad announcement at St George's Park, Wiegman confirmed: "It was a hard decision [to leave Houghton out], but she's just not ready to compete.

"We set a plan in place with her for her and she did everything she could do, we supported her as well as possible. 

"She's in a very good place but just not ready to compete, I think. It's a matter of time, and we don't have that time.

"It was really hard. It's hard for every player we had to disappoint, but of course for such a big player with such a big impact on the England game, she did everything - but other players do everything too.

"Of course, she was very disappointed and I know she did everything to make it, so she wasn't happy, but she took the arguments I gave her and then we left it for now."

Wiegman named a provisional 28-woman squad in May, with Sandy MacIver, Niamh Charles, Katie Zelem and Lucy Staniforth also missing out on the final cut.

As the host nation, England kick off the tournament against Austria at Old Trafford on July 6.

England squad for Euro 2022: Mary Earps (Manchester United), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Ellie Roebuck (Manchester City); Millie Bright, Jess Carter (both Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (free agent), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Alex Greenwood, Demi Stokes (both Manchester City), Lotte Wubben-Moy (Arsenal); Fran Kirby (Chelsea), Jill Scott (free agent), Ella Toone (Manchester United), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Keira Walsh (Manchester City), Leah Williamson (Arsenal); Beth England (Chelsea), Lauren Hemp, Chloe Kelly, Ellen White (all Manchester City), Beth Mead, Nikita Parris (both Arsenal), Alessia Russo (Manchester United).

England will stage the most lucrative Women's European Championship yet after UEFA announced it was doubling prize money for the Euro 2022 tournament.

European football's governing body said next year's showpiece event would see the 16 teams benefit from a €16million pot, up from the €8million that was on offer at Euro 2017, the event's last edition.

UEFA said its executive committee approved the "substantial increase" at a meeting in Chisinau, Moldova.

"The financial distribution will include increased guaranteed amounts and performance-based bonuses for the group stage," UEFA said in a statement on Thursday.

It added that European clubs whose players were involved in the tournament would also be financially compensated for the release of their stars, with €4.5million being set aside for that purpose.

UEFA stated: "The increases in financial distributions and introduction of a club benefits programme are key strategic initiatives of UEFA’s women's football strategy, TimeForAction, ensuring that more money than ever before is distributed across the women’s game."

Hosts Netherlands won the Euro 2017 title, beating Denmark in the final in Enschede.

UEFA's move comes at a time when FIFA is proposing introducing a Women's World Cup every two years, a concept that England's new head coach Sarina Wiegman this week described as "not very good for the players, for their welfare".

The men's Euro 2020 tournament offered a prize fund of around €330million, reports said. Despite UEFA ramping up investment, there remains a wide disparity between financial rewards at the men's and women's elite levels.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino promised in 2019 that the next Women's World Cup, in 2023, would see prize money at least double to $60million. The men will play for $440million at next year's World Cup in Qatar.

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