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Women's EURO beginners' guide: Tournament basics, who to support

New to Women's EURO? We give you the basics and a reason to support all of the 16 contenders.

France players arrive for training
France players arrive for training AFP via Getty Images

UEFA Women's EURO 2022 runs from 6 to 31 July in England.

Read our full guide to one of, if not the, most anticipated European women's national-team tournament there has ever been.

Key info

How long has Women's EURO been going?

The first UEFA European Competition for Representative Women's Teams ran from 1982 to 1984 and waswon by Sweden. After that a four-team final tournament was introduced, and a rise in status gave birth to the UEFA European Women's Championship in 1991.

For 1997, the finals moved to eight teams with a group stage and every four years, to avoid clashes with the FIFA Women's World Cup. The final tournament expanded to 12 teams in 2009, and 16 in 2017.

These quadrennial finals were scheduled for 2021 but were postponed due to COVID-19 and the rescheduling of men's UEFA EURO 2020; the next will be as previously planned in 2025.

When and where are the Women's EURO games?

It all kicks off at 21:00 CET (20:00 UK time) on Wednesday 6 July at Old Trafford with hosts England playing Austria. Matches continue in Brighton & Hove (Brighton & Hove Community Stadium), London (Brentford Community Stadium), Manchester (Manchester City Academy Stadium), Milton Keynes (Stadium MK), Rotherham (New York Stadium), Sheffield (Bramall Lane), Southampton (St Mary's Stadium) and Wigan & Leigh (Leigh Sports Village) before the final at Wembley at 18:00 CET (17:00 UK time) on Sunday 31 July.

How does Women's EURO work?

There are four groups of four teams, with the top two in each progressing to the quarter-finals, from whence it is straight knockout. Games level after 90 minutes go to extra time and, if needed, penalties.

Finals groups

Group A: England (hosts), Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland

Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland

Group C: Netherlands (holders), Sweden, Portugal*, Switzerland

*Portugal replace Russia

Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland

Who are the favourites to win Women's EURO?

Germany won six editions of this tournament in a row from 1995 to 2013, but were dethroned five years ago in the quarter-finals by Denmark, and these finals in England are very open, with at least half the entrants having a strong case to be among the contenders.

Great Women's EURO goals

The Netherlands won, perhaps surprisingly, as hosts in 2017 but showed it was no fluke by reaching the FIFA Women's World Cup final two years later. The coach that masterminded those successes, Sarina Wiegman, will again be in charge of the host nation having switched to England following the 2021 Olympics, and that could help the Lionesses upgrade from the silver medals they won at the 1984 and 2009 EUROs.

Sweden followed 2019 World Cup bronze with 2021 Olympic silver and the winners of that inaugural 1984 final have tended of late to peak when it matters. Spain, dominated by Barcelona players, are increasingly fancied, while France have an array of talent (not least from the club who in May dethroned Barcelona as UEFA Women's Champions League holders, Lyon) to put right a series of tournament disappointments.

Germany, naturally, want their title back with a new generation coming through, while unexpected 2017 finalists Denmark, and two-time champions Norway – reinforced by Ada Hegerberg's comeback – also have their backers.

Follow Women's EURO on the official app

What about the other Women's EURO contenders?

Austria, on debut, went all the way to the 2017 semis and only lost to Denmark on penalties, and are certainly a hard side to beat. Italy increasingly are looking more like regaining the reputation they had in the 1990s, when they twice reached the final, while there is plenty of talent and astute coaches at the helm for Finland and Switzerland: the latter's boss, Nils Nielsen, masterminded Denmark's 2017 run.

Belgium have goalscoring prowess and are a threat in the very open Group D, as are Iceland, in their fourth straight final tournament. Portugal only had a late call to these finals but are a rising force and there will be plenty of support in Southampton for the one finals debutants, Northern Ireland, who were ranked 32nd before qualifying but produced a sensational run, and the semi-professional players that make up the bulk of their squad have been preparing on a full-time basis in Belfast since January.

How can I watch?

See our guide on where to watch TV or streams where you are around the world. Selected matches will be streamed live in certain territories on UEFA.tv. Highlights of all matches will be available to view as of midnight CET.

Or you can be there in person (at least at the games not already sold out): buy tickets now.


Sold-out games? How big will the crowds be?

Meet the Women's EURO 2022 mascots

The current records for the tournament are 41,301 for the 2013 final in Solna and an aggregate of 247,041 fans for the 31 games at Netherlands 2017. By last November way more than those numbers had already gone in the pre-sale period or been requested in the post-draw public ballot.

Among games sold out are the opener at Old Trafford, which will set a new tournament record crowd set to last all of three-and-a-half weeks, with the final having had similar demand, also putting under threat the current high for any women's international in Europe, 80,203 for the 2012 Olympic gold-medal match, also at Wembley.

Is there VAR in Women's EURO?

Yes, for the first time, in every game.

Past finals

UEFA European Women's Championship

16 teams
2017: Netherlands 4-2 Denmark; Enschede, Netherlands
12 teams
2013: Germany 1-0 Norway; Solna, Sweden
2009: Germany 6-2 England; Helsinki, Finland
8 teams
2005: Germany 3-1 Norway; Blackburn, England
2001: Germany 1-0 Sweden (aet, golden goal); Ulm, Germany
Two-legged knockout, one-off final
1995: Germany 3-2 Sweden; Kaiserslautern, Germany
Four-team knockout
1993: Norway 1-0 Italy; Cesena, Italy
1991: Germany 3-1 Norway (aet); Aalborg, Denmark

UEFA European Competition for Representative Women's Teams

Four-team knockout
1989: West Germany 4-1 Norway; Osnabruck, West Germany
1987: Norway 2-1 Sweden; Oslo, Norway
Two-legged knockout
1984: Sweden 1-1 England (4-3 pens); two legs, Gothenburg and Luton

Need a team to support? The case for each...

Team guides


Have never lost a finals game in regulation time; on debut in 2017 they topped their group ahead of France and Iceland, then both their knockout games went to penalties.


Boast 12-goal qualifying top scorer Tine De Caigny, ten-goal 2019 World Cup qualifying top scorer Janice Cayman, and the current leader in 2023 World Cup qualifying with an incredible 15, Tessa Wullaert.

Harder strikes for Denmark in 2017


Surprise finalists in 2017, spearheaded by the only two-time UEFA Women's Player of the Year, Pernille Harder.


Will have the backing of record-breaking support, and have at the helm a coach who has already taken one host team to victory five years ago.


Boreal Owls do not draw attention to themselves but are spectacular when seen. The team nicknamed after them are often overlooked but can surprise, as they did when they reached the semi-finals on debut in England 17 years ago.


Have disappointed when heavily tipped in recent tournaments; this time seem to be being overlooked, just as Lyon (who supply five of the squad) were in this season's UEFA Women's Champions League.

Classic Germany Women's EURO goals


Never write off the Germans, as Europe learned in 1989 and 1991. And 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2013. Not to mention the 2003 and 2007 World Cups and 2016 Olympics.


Their menfolk charmed the world at UEFA EURO 2016, but Iceland's women are grizzled veterans at this level. This is their fourth final tournament (in fact Sif Atladóttir and Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir have been in all four squads).


The Azzurre were one of the early forces in this competition and are on the rise again with a bunch of stars from this season's UEFA Women's Champions League surprise package Juventus.

Miedema's Women's EURO 2017 goals


The reigning champions are sure to have great support and are packed with big names who have tasted club success in England, not least the prolific Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema.

Northern Ireland

Rank outsiders who few gave a chance of even qualifying, Northern Ireland play all their group games in Southampton and will not want for support from local fans (until, perhaps, they play England).


Two-time winners, Norway are spearheaded by a comeback queen. UEFA Women's Champions League all-time leading goalscorer Ada Hegerberg returned in style for Lyon late in 2021 after more than 20 months out injured, then early this year she ended her Norway exile having quit the squad in 2017.


In the unusual position of taking part having initially been eliminated in qualifying. The last time that happened in a EURO, the men's tournament 30 years ago, the team concerned did quite well...


Spain boast so much talent, and so much experience of winning, both at club level with the Barcelona players, and in international youth competitions when many victories came under Jorge Vilda, now in charge of the senior side.

Great Sweden Women's EURO goals


World Cup bronze in 2019, Olympic silver in 2021; the gold is all that is missing for this squad who under Peter Gerhardsson have banished a past reputation for tournament underperformance and become finals specialists.


Greenland-born coach Nils Nielsen took unfancied Denmark to the 2017 final with a penalty shoot-out success against Austria. He then took over Switzerland, who became the first-ever team to qualify for this tournament on penalties following a play-off against the Czech Republic.