UEFA Women's EURO 2022 daily preview: What to look out for on Friday
Friday, July 15, 2022
Norway must beat Austria to pip their opponents to the quarter-finals, where England's thoughts will turn after facing eliminated Northern Ireland.
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UEFA Women's EURO 2022 Group A concludes on Friday with hosts England already confirmed as group winners, opponents Northern Ireland unable to go through and Austria meeting Norway in a straight decider for second place.
We preview the action on England's south coast.
Group A Live now
Austria's players were dancing through their press conference after Monday's 2-0 defeat of Northern Ireland got them off the mark in Group A, having already shown promise in their 1-0 opening loss to England. And their celebrations will not have been dampened when Norway were crushed 8-0 by England, meaning Austria moved up to second place on goal difference and only require a draw in Brighton & Hove to match their 2017 achievement of getting out of their group on debut.
Norway's hopes of avoiding a second straight group exit looked good after they overcame Northern Ireland 4-1 in Southampton, but they now face the prospect of returning to the stadium where only four days earlier England inflicted their all-time record defeat. Star forward Ada Hegerberg spoke of a "tough reality" but, on paper, Norway would have been tipped to get the win they need against Austria before the tournament began.
Key stat: Norway have won four of their five meetings with Austria, the other game a 2-2 draw in their most recent fixture in 2016 – the only time Austria have managed to score against them.
With hosts England having already won this group to book a quarter-final spot in Brighton & Hove next week, and Northern Ireland certain to finish fourth, the stakes will be low in Southampton. Even so, a sell-out crowd with fans of both these local rivals well represented in the stands should still make it an occasion to remember.
The Lionesses were tentative in beating Austria in front of nearly 70,000 supporters at Old Trafford before their sensational competition-record defeat of Norway that booked progress. Both those teams have beaten Northern Ireland at these finals, but the debutants have not looked out of depth at a level few predicted them getting near at the start of the qualifiers. However, Northern Ireland have lost all 11 previous meetings with England, who have scored 59 goals and conceded three in those games.
Key stat: These teams have met three times in the last 18 months. England won a St George's Park friendly 6-0 in February 2021 before crossing paths in two 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifiers, a Beth Mead hat-trick helping them beat Northern Ireland 4-0 at Wembley in October and the Lionesses then winning 5-0 at Windsor Park in April.