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UEFA Women's EURO 2022 daily preview: What to look out for on Sunday

The very open Group D is the last to get under way as Belgium take on Iceland and France meet Italy.

Belgium, Iceland, France and Italy begin Group D on Sunday
Belgium, Iceland, France and Italy begin Group D on Sunday UEFA

The four UEFA Women's EURO 2022 Group D contenders finally get under way on Sunday.

We preview the action.

18:00 CET: Belgium vs Iceland (Group D, Manchester)

Belgium's Janice Cayman and Iceland's Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir were Lyon team-mates last season
Belgium's Janice Cayman and Iceland's Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir were Lyon team-mates last seasonAFP via Getty Images

With 63 goals in their 15 matches in 2021/22, and the top scorers in qualifying for this tournament (Tine De Caigny), the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup (Janice Cayman) and 2023 edition (Tessa Wullaert, returning to her former Manchester City home on Sunday), Ives Serneels's side are unlikely to sit back, especially in a game where victory would put them in a strong position to get through a major group stage for the first time.

However Iceland, in their fourth straight Women's EURO, have experience of making it out of their group in 2013 and are boosted by the successful return from maternity leave of their key player, Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, who has been part of all of her nation's finals squads over the years and alongside Cayman helped Lyon win last season's UEFA Women's Champions League.

Key stat: Both these teams have one Women's EURO finals win to their name, Iceland against the Netherlands in 2013 and Belgium versus Norway four years later.

21:00 CET: France vs Italy (Group D, Rotherham)

Last time: See when France beat Italy in 2005

France's performances since the Women's EURO group stage was introduced have been nothing but consistent: they have departed in the last eight every time, missing out on qualification from their section in 1997, 2001 and 2005, and then falling at the quarter-final stage on three occasions since the competition began to expand in 2009. Although Les Bleues did make the semis of the 2011 World Cup and 2012 Olympics, that return for a brilliant generation led by the evergreen Wendie Renard has left them frustrated, but the emergence of the likes of Marie-Antoinette Katoto means that an overdue France success remains a distinct possibility.

A group stage exit in 2017 marked the first time that Italy had not made at least the Women's EURO last eight under its various formats, but there are definite signs of resurgence for the Azzurre, who in their heyday finished runners-up in 1993 and 1997. The run to the 2019 World Cup quarter-finals, their best for 28 years, and the swift improvement of their leading clubs – most notably Juventus, providers of seven squad members – underline that Italy are a serious threat to France, and anyone.

Key stat: France did not concede a goal in qualifying.