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

France will be eyeing a quarter-final place as they face Belgium, while Iceland hope to build on a promising start against Italy.

Italy play Iceland before France meet Belgium in Group D on Thursday
Italy play Iceland before France meet Belgium in Group D on Thursday UEFA

France were one of the standout teams in the opening set of UEFA Women's EURO 2022 games and they can book a quarter-final slot when they face Belgium on Thursday – after Italy, who cannot afford a second defeat, meet an Iceland side that impressed in their draw with the Red Flames.

We preview the action in Group D.

Group D Live now

Played P Won W Draws D Lost L For Against Goal difference Points Pts
FRA France
Playing now
3 2 1 0 8 3 5 7
BEL Belgium
Playing now
3 1 1 1 3 3 0 4
ISL Iceland
Playing now
3 0 3 0 3 3 0 3
ITA Italy
Playing now
3 0 1 2 2 7 -5 1

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Highlights: Belgium 1-1 Iceland

Italy were considered dark horses for the title so eyebrows were defying gravity in Rotherham on Sunday when they trailed France by five goals at half-time, a 45-minute disaster described by forward Cristiana Girelli as "a blackout". However, the Azzurre "won" the second half 1-0 and could even have reduced arrears further, suggesting they still have every hope of going one better than in 2017, when they failed to reach the last eight of a Women's EURO for the first time. Conversely, a second defeat would end their hopes.

Iceland looked set fair against Belgium when they took a deserved lead early in the second half in Manchester but, having previously missed a penalty of their own, they were pegged back to 1-1 by a spot kick. Nevertheless, inspired by 21-year-old Wolfsburg attacker Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir, Iceland showed enough potential to suggest a second finals win lies within reach after their sole success against the Netherlands in 2013, which took them into the last eight.

Key stat: These teams met in a pair of Florence friendlies in April 2021, one ending 1-1 and Italy edging the other 1-0.

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Highlights: France 5-1 Italy

For the first time in quite a while, France did not begin the finals among most pundits' favourites, despite their depth of talent. The experts were perhaps wary after a succession of tournaments in which Les Bleues have failed to meet (often stratospheric) expectations. That scepticism was quickly revised when France went five up at the break against Italy, with Grace Geyoro scoring the tournament's first opening-half hat-trick and the front three of Kadidiatou Diani, Marie-Antoinette Katoto and Delphine Cascarino pretty much unplayable. A second Rotherham win would take them through.

Belgium possess three big goal threats themselves in Tessa Wullaert, Tine De Caigny and Lyon's Janice Cayman, who will go up against several club-mates and regular French league opposition. The Red Flames will be relieved to have taken a point in Manchester after being put under considerable pressure by Iceland, but they now face a team they have struggled against historically, the last Belgium win coming ten meetings ago in 1985.

Key stat: France have won the last six games between the sides, scoring 23 goals and conceding one.

Where to watch Women's EURO: TV/streams