A group stage with more goals and spectators than ever before ends on Monday with Belgium, Italy or Iceland hoping to join France in reaching the last eight.
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More goals have been scored in the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 group stage than any previous edition, attendances have smashed records – and the excitement will continue right to the end as Group D concludes on Monday with one of Belgium, Italy or Iceland set to join confirmed winners France in completing the quarter-final line-up.
We preview the action.
France's two games in Rotherham have produced thrills aplenty and their 5-1 defeat of Italy and 2-1 win against Belgium have left them four points clear and confirmed as section winners, meaning they will be back at New York Stadium on Saturday to face the Group C runners-up. However, this Iceland game will be important for Corinne Diacre as she reshuffles her attack in the absence of Marie-Antoinette Katoto, with a tough quarter-final to come as Les Bleues hope to end their long run of being knocked out in the last eight of this and other tournaments.
Iceland just want to join France in the quarter-finals and a win would make it certain; otherwise, they will be reliant on the other game going their way. Of course, had Iceland held onto their leads against Belgium and Italy rather than being pegged back to 1-1, they too would be through before facing a nation that beat them in the 2009 and 2017 group stages. That said, they can take encouragement from their positive play so far – especially in first halves – and unless the heat is a factor, this should be a game full of attacking play.
Key stat: Iceland could become the first team to draw all three group games at a Women's EURO and possibly the first team to go out in the group stage unbeaten. Before the group stage was introduced, Denmark were technically undefeated in the knockout 1991 finals, losing to Norway on penalties in the semi-finals before beating Italy for third place.
Both Italy and Belgium have suffered defeats by France in Rotherham and rallied from behind to hold Iceland 1-1 in Manchester, where the Azzurre and Red Flames now face off. A win for either, combined with Iceland not beating France, would earn a quarter-final slot, and Belgium (who will miss suspended Amber Tysiak) might be able to afford a score draw, should Iceland lose.
Disappointing first halves and impressive second periods have been the story of Italy's campaign in England. The fact they did not let conceding five before the break against France prevent them from regrouping suggests a mental strength to the Azzurre team. However, that also applies to Belgium, who withstood an early Iceland barrage and an even greater onslaught by France, taking a point from the first game and nearly denying Les Bleues, with goalkeeper Nicky Evrard magnificent and saving a penalty in both matches.
Key stat: The only time Italy have failed to make the last eight under any format was when they went out in the group stage in 2017; Belgium suffered the same fate on their finals debut five years ago and have never made the last eight.