Chloe Beresford·24 July 2022
Chloe Beresford·24 July 2022
The quarter-final stage of Euro 2022 is officially complete, and there was plenty of drama and excitement in the first round of knockout matches.
As we gear up for the semi-finals, it’s time to update our Power Rankings.
Belgium’s players crumpled to the floor in despair when the final whistle went in their quarter-final clash with Sweden.
Boss Ives Serneels had seen his side keep out 32 attempts at goal, only to concede in the 93rd minute from a corner, but even in heartbreak, there were plenty of positives for the Belgians to take home with them.
Boss Irene Fuhrmann talked about Austria’s ‘great future’ after an excellent performance in their quarter-final defeat to Germany. Her side had only played in their first major tournament in 2017, and pushed the eight-time Euro winners all the way.
Were it not for some poor finishing, Austria – who were given no chance of even getting out of the group – could have achieved a result against Germany, and kept the scoreline at 1-0 for almost all of the 90 minutes.
Now it’s time for Austria to build on the confidence earned from their excellent showing in this tournament, and it won’t be a surprise to see this team competing in the knockout stages of a major competition again soon.
Defender Stefanie Van der Gragt was the Netherlands’ best performer in their 1-0 defeat to France and that says it all about their performance in Saturday’s quarter-final.
Mark Parsons’ side did well to contain France’s relentless attacks for so long, but failed to create enough chances of their own.
Vivianne Miedema was a shadow of her usual self following her Covid isolation, and although there was some heroic defending on show, the Netherlands didn’t do nearly enough to give themselves a chance of retaining the trophy.
Spain were unlucky to be eliminated from the competition after they executed their game plan brilliantly versus England, only to concede an equaliser in the 85th minute.
Even though Spain have now exited at the quarter-final stage in the last three Euro tournaments, Jorge Vilda’s side are growing in stature and once the initial disappointment fades will be able to see the real progress that they have made.
Sweden have grown in confidence as the tournament has progressed, but still needed a stoppage-time winner from a set-piece to defeat Belgium in the quarter-final.
Having said that, this side are firmly in the winning habit, with the last defeat suffered back in March 2020.
Peter Gerhardsson’s side will undoubtedly find it tough to overcome an in-form England playing on home soil, but the Lionesses must not underestimate their experienced opponent.
Les Bleues took an astonishing 33 shots in their quarter-final, and 26 of those were from inside the box. This was their first match without injured striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto, and it certainly seemed like they were missing a player who could finish the plethora of chances they had created.
Alexandra Popp has hit form at just the right time as Germany suffered the loss of striker Lea Schüller due to a positive Covid test.
The experienced skipper is just one goal behind England’s Beth Mead in the race for the golden boot and she epitomises a ruthless Germany side who get the job done in a way that reflects their vast experience in tournament football.
As eight-time winners, this side has the edge in terms of the psychological battle to lift the trophy, and they’ve got the skills and organisation on the pitch to match.
Whisper it very quietly, but it might just be ‘coming home’ this summer.
England’s dominance – and 14 goals without reply – in the group stages had failed to give the Lionesses a real test, but they proved they have what it takes in that stunning comeback win over Spain.
Sarina Wiegman’s side looked dead and buried until Ella Toone’s 84th minute equaliser in the quarter-final.
And then Georgia Stanway scoring the extra-time winner in such emphatic fashion showed exactly what this team are capable of.
With the home crowd behind them, this trophy is there for the taking.