Last on the list, group D will necessarily have to be followed closely, since it is that of the France team. Paid in the company of Italy, Belgium and Iceland, the Bleues of Corinne Deacon are favorites, at least in theory. To count among the contenders for the title in the final phase, it will already be necessary to get rid of three underdogs par excellence.
By Julien Duez
The guide to Euro 2022: discovering Group D
Favorites: Les Bleues
No need to exaggerate. With the draw of this group D, the Blues are more than logically the candidates all designated for the first place. Since the United States came to spoil the World Cup prematurely in 2019, the players of Corinne Deacon (whose contract was renewed the following year until 2022) have known defeat only once in 32 contested matches. And it was obviously against Team USA in a friendly, in April 2021. Luckily, it will not be present at the Euro and, even if France has inherited the “complicated” part of the table (with a potential quarter-final to play against the Netherlands, reigning European champions), his three opponents, respectively 14are (Italy), 17are (Iceland) and 19are (Belgium) of the FIFA ranking, should serve as a warm-up before going to overcome the curse of the quarters, which the Blues have never passed in six participations. But beware of overconfidence: the group rejuvenated by Corinne Deacon and amputated by part of its executives is expected at the turn. Many players will thus experience their baptism of fire in a major tournament, and it will be up to them not to crack under the pressure.
The future surprise: Italy
Cruelly eliminated by the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the 2019 World Cup, the Women’s Squadra Azzurra had made a strong impression in France, proving that it would have to be counted on in the future. Mission accomplished since then, Milena Bertolini’s players finished second in their qualifying group for the Euro, suffering a single defeat, against Denmark, a country against which they also managed to hang a heroic draw away from home (0 -0). It must be said that when six players from the typical team are used to playing in the same club (Juventus, which has just achieved the league and cup double and whose poles are defended by the French Pauline Peyraud-Magnin) , we gain in automation. Especially since apart from the midfielder Aurora Galli (Everton), the entire group plays in the national championship, whose professionalization has recently been confirmed from next season. Will this be enough to pass the cut chickens ? Maybe. In any case, the Italians have succeeded twice (since the current format of the tournament adopted in 2001), but not in 2017. The time to think bigger has arrived.
Player to watch: Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir
In selection since 2007, Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir (31 years old) is not really what one could call a little news. With 139 caps on the clock, the midfielder is preparing to play her fourth Euro, with the stated ambition of doing at least as well as in 2013, when the Stelpurnar (girls) scrapped (and lost) to then-host nation Sweden. Since then, Gunnar’s daughter has recovered the captain’s armband and established herself as the best ambassador for her country by becoming the first Icelander to win the Champions League (in 2020) with OL. But beyond the titles, we will remember that she became the first Fenotte to get pregnant, which logically kept her away from the field during her pregnancy, but in no way constituted a brake on her career. As proof, four months after giving birth to Ragnar, in November 2021, she was back on the pitch and won a new championship-C1 double. Enough to conclude his two years in the Rhone in style, before flying off to a new challenge on the other side of the Alps, at Juventus. Players who would still hesitate between their sporting career and motherhood now know that they have a role model to follow. Amel Majri can testify to this.
The stadium to discover: New York Stadium, Rotherham
If Sheffield is nicknamed the Steel City due to its industrial past, its suburbs are not to be outdone, and the town of Rotherham is the perfect illustration of this. In the past, the local flagship foundry, the Guest and Chrimes Foundry, indeed manufactured the iconic red fire hydrants of the city of New York, which gave its informal name to the district in which it was located, until to the definitive cessation of its activities in 1999. At the time, Rotherham United (now reassembled in the Championship) played on its historic ground of Milmoor, before moving four years due to conflict with its owner. Two years later, the works of the future house of Millers started at the foundry site. In 2012, the New York Stadium finally emerged from the ground. It is in this classic 12,000-seat enclosure, whose name therefore pays homage to the city’s past, that Les Bleues will play for their three group matches and – who knows – in the quarter-finals, if they ever finish first. of group D.
The anecdote to highlight during tea time
Belgium has a one in 10,000 chance of winning this Euro. No luck, the rating does not come out of the hat of English bookmakers, but from a laboratory of the Catholic University of Louvain (KU Leuven), in the province of Flemish Brabant. To come to this unhappy conclusion for the Red Flames, the DTAI Sports Analytics Lab, which specializes in the statistical study of sports competitions, took into account the antecedents between each nation, as well as their goals scored/goals conceded ratio, while weighting the results according to the importance of the match studied (to know, if it was a simple friendly or a semi-final of the World Cup for example). For numbers geeks, the study can be accessed here, for the lazy people, it should be noted that only Switzerland, Portugal, Finland and Northern Ireland are less likely than the Belgians to emerge from their pool. On the other hand, according to the calculations of KU Leuven, we could see Sweden and France face each other in the final. Cocori… No, calm down, there is a curse to overcome first.
The editor’s prono
France : 9 points
Italy : 6 points
Belgium : 3 points
Iceland: 0 pts
By Julien Duez