Caroline Weir on 'ruthless' Wiegman and who will be the star of the Euros | OneFootball
Caroline Weir on 'ruthless' Wiegman and who will be the star of the Euros
Scotland international and WSL star Caroline Weir has joined OneFootball for an exclusive column on Euro 2022 this summer! Here she previews the tournament.
This is probably the most eagerly-anticipated European Championships ever and I can’t wait.
Obviously it’s disappointing not to be involved as a player but after such a long wait between the end of the season and the start of this tournament, I’m really looking forward to watching some brilliant football and supporting my old team-mates from afar.
It’s going to be a record-breaking tournament in terms of crowds and it hasn’t surprised me at all how quickly tickets have sold.
We saw last season in the Women’s Super League and for England national team games just how big a support base there is for women’s football and it’s amazing to see that momentum carried into this summer.
I’ve no doubt the spotlight that’s being shone on the players over the next few weeks will have a massive impact on the game in the UK, although it is a shame that there aren’t more matches being played at bigger stadiums throughout the tournament.
The Etihad Stadium, for instance, would have been a brilliant venue in place of the Etihad Campus but from the organisers point of view I can understand that sold out grounds for every single match was important.
There was never much danger of the England games being under capacity but it’s massive that Old Trafford is going to be full with 85,000 fans in attendance for the opener against Austria.
It’s a game I expect them to win and I’ve no doubt that the girls are buzzing, looking forward to getting a perfect start.
Representing your country at a home tournament is the stuff dreams are made of but I know England are going to be fully focused, especially with Sarina Wiegman in charge.
I’ve only ever heard good things about her and although she’s supposed to be pretty ruthless, as a player you know where you stand which is vital during a tournament like this.
She’s got that experience of winning this trophy last time out with the Netherlands and I honestly can’t imagine a better coach at this time for this squad.
I know all these players from my time at Manchester City – playing with and against them in the WSL – but the key one for me is my former team mate Lauren Hemp.
Hempo always had the talent and the pace but this past season she’s taken her game to a new level with the consistency of her decision-making in the final third.
She was such a threat for us down the left-hand side and in pretty much every game was doubled up against by opposition defenders.
That might have been a source of frustration for Hempo personally but it always left space elsewhere for other attackers and I’m sure England can exploit those opportunities in the group games to come.
When Hempo’s on song there is literally no stopping her and I know she’s going to have a brilliant tournament, wherever England finish.
The Lionesses are clearly one of the favourites for the Euros but it’s from Group B where I think the eventual winners will come.
Finland and Denmark were pretty unlucky to be drawn with Germany and Spain, whose squads are just on a different level to every other country in Europe right now.
Germany were excellent at the Arnold Clark Cup earlier this year with their young players adding so much after a load of key players missed the mini-tournament through Covid.
That mix of youth and experience will be huge, as will the chemistry made from a core of Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich players.
It can’t be underestimated how big an advantage it is to play with your club mates at international level and the same can also be said for Spain with their Barcelona core.
Although it’s Alexia Putellas who often grabs the headlines, I reckon it’s her midfield partner Aitana Bonmatí who will be named Player of the Tournament come the end of July.
I played for Scotland against Spain back in April and Bonmatí was by far and away the best player on the pitch that day.
She’s going to be the star of this summer and one of the main reasons why Jorge Vilda’s side are going to be so dangerous.
Goals will come from all over the pitch for Spain but the Netherlands will be pinning their hopes on Vivianne Miedema.
The Arsenal striker has been playing in a deeper role for her club this past season but as a focal point for the Dutch attack I think she’ll be the woman to beat when it comes to the Golden Boot.
You can never discount Sweden and France in any tournament either but whoever wins I’ve no doubt this will be the best Euros in history … even if Scotland aren’t there!
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