Euro 2022: One player to watch from each team

Euro 2022: Katoto
Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Marie Antoinette Katoto (R) scores a goal during the UEFA Women's Champions League semi-final second-leg match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Lyon (OL) at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 30, 2022. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

We are only just a day away from the start of what could be the biggest event in the history of women’s football. The European Championship in England is predicted to be huge and one happening that will not only keep building on the development that is right now but also will mark a new beginning for women’s football. 

I’ve taken a closer look at the nations that will participate and choose one player from each team that should be on everyone’s radar during the tournament. 

Euro 2022: Group A

England

The hosts, The Lionesses, come into this tournament with the biggest expectations ever on them. Fans will expect the UEFA trophy to “come home”.
Great team overall but, I would still like to give a big shout-out to Lauren Hemp. The winger from Manchester City has carried the Citizens throughout the season with her technical and fast-paced skills with the ball along the sidelines during the attacks. If she hasn’t caught your eye yet, she will during Euro for sure. 

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Norway

it’s impossible to leave Ada Hegerberg’s return to Norway’s national team out. Even though there are plenty of great talents and names in head coach Martin Sjögren’s Norwegian squad. The Lyon striker has not only been away from international football, but she was also out for a long time with an injury from club football. Just recently she returned and made sure to play her part in Lyon winning both the league title in France and the Champions League, when the multiple champions beat Primera Iberdrola giants, FC Barcelona, in the final by 3-1. 

Austria

Sarah Zadrazil will be my choice of player to watch in Austria. The midfield maestro who plays for FC Bayern München in the Frauen Bundesliga will see to it that her national team will make life hard for their opponents to win. I still can’t forget about the stunning goal she scored in the second leg of the semi-final of the Champions League last season against Chelsea. 

Northern Ireland

It’s impossible to talk about Northern Ireland without mentioning Rachel Furness. She is their all-time high top scorer and she ended up playing for Northern Ireland because England refused to offer her a trial when she was a teenager. Northern Ireland will be playing in their first big, international tournament, and Furness, who just has been a part of Liverpool’s great campaign in the Championship to see them getting promoted back into the Women’s Super League, will have to step up to make sure Group A doesn’t know what hit it. 

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Euro 2022: Group B

Germany

Lena Oberdorf, only 20 years old, has been crucial for Wolfsburg this season. The green Wolves may have lost the league in the 2020/21 season to the biggest rivals FC Bayern München, but Oberdorf played a huge part for Wolfsburg this season when they once again won the double. Versatile and strong and with great aerial abilities, she can play both as a defender and a central midfielder. 

Spain

Alexia Putellas. That’s the name that falls on everyone’s lips when talking about Spain. The captain of FC Barcelona comes from another outstanding season, and even though it might not have ended the way Putellas had dreamt about after losing the Champions League final, she still dictated the Catalans’ fierce attacks when they won every league game in Primera Iberdrola this season. Probably one of the best attacking number 8’s in the world at the moment. 

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Denmark

Pernille Harder is Denmark’s captain, playmaker, goalscorer and yeah, pretty much everything. Watching Harder play football for her country should leave no doubt that she has a winning mentality above everyone else. In the Euro 2017 in the Netherlands, Harder made it into the top 5 in so many parts of the construction play according to Wyscout; through passes, smart passes, progressive runs, and deep completions. The only question is: can she carry her nation into another Euro final?

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Finland

Natalia Kuikka has been awarded the player of the year in Finland two years in a row now. After winning the Swedish league title with Kopparbergs/Göteborgs FC (now BK Häcken) in the 2020 season, she left Europe to play in the NWSL for Portland Thorns. She is considered to be a modern defender who is good on the ball, but she also loves to defend. Will be vital for Finland at the back in order to survive the group of death.

Euro 2022: Group C

Netherlands

Arsenal fans could take a deep breath and relax just recently when Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema extended her contract and announced she was going to stay in London. This striker knows how to score but in the Euro 2017 home in the Netherlands, she still wasn’t considered as the big star she is now. It would be a surprise if Miedema’s name did not show up at the top scorer or top assist lists after this European tournament is over and done with

Sweden

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Fridolina Rolfö is without a doubt Sweden’s biggest star at the moment. She comes from a massive first season with Barcelona, where she has been used first and foremost as a left-hand side full-back. She has a fierce and powerful shot, which she can fire off with both of her feet. Strong and good with the ball when coming rightly turned she will be a big threat for the opponents in Group C to look out for. Will be interesting to see how she can use her experience as a defender in Sweden’s attack this summer. 

Switzerland

Lia Wälti, the captain of Switzerland and a powerful engine on the midfield, knows what it’s like to win titles. She has been with Arsenal for the last four seasons and she won the WSL league title in 2019. Hardworking at the midfield but also often shows that she has a great vision for the game. Very important for Switzerland. 

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Portugal

Jessica Silva for Portugal has plenty of experience from playing abroad. She has played for Linköping FC where she ended up at the age of 20 and she has had spells in the US and France. With Lyon, she became the first Portuguese female player to win the Champions League. She missed the last Euros because of an injury and is now ready to lead Portugal’s attacking line in England this summer. 

Group D

France

Often she seems to miss out on awards and mentions on her outstanding performances. But Marie-Antoinette Katoto is the player to watch in France. If they win the Euros this summer, and she is fit all through the tournament playing as a starter, Katoto must be a contender to win the Ballon d’Or. The striker was voted the best player in the French league this season.

Italy

Lisa Boattin will be my pick for players to watch in Italy’s national team. She is of great importance in both Juventus and Italy’s possession structure. This is because she inverts into midfield quite frequently and her range and control over the ball are phenomenal. Must be really helpful to have a player who can function as an auxiliary midfielder in different stages of a game in different scenarios when needed. 

Belgium

Tessa Wullaert, captain of Belgium, will have to step up and deliver the things she is best at if Belgium is going to seek success this summer. Wullaert has a tremendous talent inside the box to position herself to score and that’s the reason for her being the Red Flames’ all-time high top-scorer. In the qualification rounds for the tournament, she also ended up as the player in Belgium with the most assists. Has played for both Vfl Wolfsburg and Manchester City where she has won titles and trophies and the experience of winning can add much to Belgium’s team performance.

Iceland 

Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir can produce one of the longest throw-ins people have ever witnessed in the women’s game. Just ask the Swedish players in the first game in Iceland during the qualification for the tournament. Sweden faced massive problems in defending when the young winger ran out to the sideline to take care of Iceland’s throw-ins. She also can score. A very exciting player to keep an eye on during this summer in England. 

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