Women's EURO 2017 guide: Group A

Hosts Netherlands open against 2013 runners-up Norway before facing Denmark and neighbours Belgium: here is all you need to know about UEFA Women's EURO Group A.

©Sportsfile
  • The games (CET)

Sunday 16 July
Netherlands v Norway (Utrecht) 18:00
Denmark v Belgium (Doetinchem) 20:45

Thursday 20 July
Norway v Belgium (Breda) 18:00
Netherlands v Denmark (Rotterdam) 20:45

Monday 24 July
Belgium v Netherlands (Tilburg) 20:45
Norway v Denmark (Deventer) 20:45

©Sportsfile

NETHERLANDS
2013:
group stage
EURO best: semi-finals (2009)
How they qualified: automatically as hosts
One to watch: Vivianne Miedema (forward, Arsenal)
Last five friendlies (most recent result first): WWLWL

• Expectations are high for the hosts with all three group games already sold out. They changed coach at the turn of the year, with Arjan van der Laan replaced by his assistant. Form has been promising, with eight wins and three losses, all narrow, to Australia, France (in Utrecht) and Japan.

Coach: Sarina Wiegman
"The first match is on [Sunday]. It's going to be a tense day. We shouldn't deny that. We need to deal with that tension knowing that it's coming, and then make sure we just let go once the whistle is blown and produce the best display possible."

©Sportsfile

NORWAY
2013:
runners-up
EURO best: winners (1987, 1993)
How they qualified: Group 8 winners, W7 D1 L0 F29 A2 P22
One to watch: Ada Hegerberg (forward, Lyon)
Last five friendlies (most recent result first): DLWWW (includes 1-1 draw with France on Tuesday)

• Like their opening opponents on Sunday, Norway changed coach at the end of last year, appointing Martin Sjögren, fresh from leading Linköping to the Swedish title. Norway have a habit of being underestimated at final tournaments – their runs to the 2005 and 2013 finals, as well as 2009 semis were surprises – but the last nation apart from Germany to win the title (24 years ago) are on many people's radars thanks to the talent up front in Ada Hegerberg and Caroline Graham Hansen. As for the new star that seems to emerge for Norway at every Women's EURO (especially with Isabell Herlovsen not involved due to her move to China), watch out for 22-year-old league top scorer Guro Reiten.

Coach: Martin Sjögren
"A reporter told me that when the former coach took over, he only had six months and they came second in the tournament in Sweden in 2013. Prior to that, it's been quite the same result with another new coach who came in, so I told him not to put pressure on me. I think that we know that we have a good record when it comes to the big tournaments."

©Sportsfile

DENMARK
2013: semi-finals
EURO best: semi-finals (1984, 1991, 1993, 2001, 2013)
How they qualified: Group 4 runners-up, W6 D1 L1 F22 A1 P10
One to watch: Pernille Harder (forward, Wolfsburg)
Last five friendlies (most recent result first): LLWDW

 • Denmark proved a tough team to beat four years ago, ousting France on penalties in the quarter-finals before falling to Norway by the same method in the semis. They have not had the smoothest of rides since but having beaten Portugal 6-0, Russia 6-1 and Finland 5-0 this year, a team with the attacking resources of Pernille Harder, Nadia Nadim and Katrine Veje cannot be underestimated, with their hero goalkeeper of 2013 Stina Petersen still going strong.

Coach: Nils Nielsen
"Like the majority of the countries in the tournament, the marker we've set ourselves is that we want to get through the group stage. Beyond the group stage, anything can happen in the knockout rounds because one-off incidents can be decisive."

©Sportsfile

BELGIUM
2013:
third in qualifying group
EURO best: first qualification
How they qualified: Group 7 runners-up, W5 D2 L1 F27 A5 P17
Coach: Ives Serneels
One to watch: Tessa Wullaert (forward, Wolfsburg)
Last five friendlies (most recent result first): WLLDW (includes victory against Russia on Tuesday)

• The 7-0 loss in Spain at the end of June shows the task for a team playing in their first major final tournament, though they qualified in comfortable style behind England. Last November, in friendlies, they beat the Netherlands 3-2 but lost 3-1 to Denmark. Their strength is in attack, with not just Wullaert but also Janice Cayman, who aided Montpellier to second place in France after signing in January following a spell in the United States.

Coach: Ives Serneels
"Where Belgian women's football is concerned, I hope all of our supporters – whether they're watching live in the stands or in front of their TV – go away with a good impression of the female game"

Top