Elite women’s football in Europe has reached exciting new heights on the field of play – a fact borne out by the findings contained in the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 technical report, which is now available.
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The report, unveiled at the UEFA Women’s National Team Coaches’ Conference on Monday, details in facts, figures, statistics and images the key tactical and technical developments of July’s unforgettable tournament in England.
"UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 illustrated the vigorous development of the women’s game,” the report explains. “It represented a sizeable stepping stone in the pathway towards UEFA’s medium and long-term objectives of encouraging girls to become involved in the fully inclusive game of football.”
“This publication sets out to provide a permanent record of a memorable and history-making event.”
Key Women’s EURO technical report facts and figures – 1
• EYE FOR GOAL: With 95 goals scored in 31 matches, the Women’s EURO 2022 averaged 3.07 goals per game – the highest since the 2005 tournament.
• SET-PLAY SUCCESS: Dead-ball situations accounted for 36% of the goals scored in England – a percentage considerably higher than the 27% at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup or the 26% during the 2021/22 UEFA Women’s Champions League. This dramatic increase was largely attributable to the number of goals from corners – which rose from four in the last EURO in the Netherlands in 2017 to 16 in 2022.
• SHARP SHOOTERS: Shots per game were up to 27.9 – an increase of 2.5 from 2017.
• CLOSER TO THE GOAL: The average shot distance was the lowest on record (15.6m), as teams looked to work the ball into better positions before shooting.
Technical observations and analysis
UEFA’s technical observer team at the tournament have pooled their thoughts, observations and opinions to compile a comprehensive overview of a EURO that set new benchmarks for the women’s game in terms of tactical intelligence, technical skills, fitness levels and coaching acumen.
The technical report is the fruit of the work undertaken in England and the immediate aftermath of the event by a strong team of current or former women’s national team coaches: Gemma Grainger, Margret Kratz, Jayne Ludlow, Jarmo Matikainen, Anne Noë, Vera Pauw and Hope Powell, with additional input by former England goalkeeper David James and the Juventus coach Joe Montemurro.
The report contains fascinating insights into all of the 31 matches in England – with pride of place given to the memorable final between England and Germany at Wembley – and a wealth of statistics, graphics and numbers impart information that adds substance to back up the technical team’s findings.
“It is hoped,” the report says, “that their comments will be of value to the coaches and coach educators engaged in the rapid growth of women’s football and the development of players who might emerge as the stars of future EUROs.”
Key Women’s EURO technical report facts and figures – 2
• SPEED AND DISTANCE: Germany’s tempo and intensity are cited as an illustration of an area where advances have been made since the previous final tournament in 2017. Germany covered significantly more distance at the highest speed than any other team –-18% above the average.
• SHORT GOAL-KICKS IN VOGUE: Goal-kicks emerged among the tournament’s talking points, with the rule permitting outfield players of the team in possession in the penalty area making a significant impact on build-up strategies. Many teams exploited the rule with the aim of controlling build-up play – but outcomes were not always positive – which underlined the relevance of risk-management awareness and fast decision-making.
• SUBSTITUTION IMPACT: Teams continued to make the most of the new five-substitute role with each team averaging 3.41 substitutions per game. The final balance reveals that 17 goals were scored by substitutes – seven of them by players who emerged from the England bench, including the two that earned victory in the final, and four by Alessia Russo to push a substitute, unusually, into third place in the tournament’s scoring chart.
• KEEPERS STEP UP: UEFA experts noted an improvement in goalkeeping when compared to 2017 with well-developed, agile athletes covering more space, better positioned, proactive in their actions and more engaged in the game, even when the ball was further away.
Winner Wiegman: England’s “togetherness” brings reward
In a special interview for the report, England’s title-winning coach Sarina Wiegman shares her views on the tournament and highlights various reasons why the host team captured their first-ever Women’s EURO title. “There were so many moments that I’m really proud of,” she explains in choosing the main secret for her side’s success. “Maybe the decision-making by the team and being on the same page all the time.”
“When we play games, we always talk about managing the game,” she adds, “but how our team translated that onto the pitch was so mature. We had togetherness. We said we wanted to be an inspiration and that’s what we became.”
Wiegman also reflects on the legacy that the EURO has left behind. “I hope it is a boost,” she says, “and that development can go quicker at all levels … Every girl who wants to play needs to have access to football in schools. Going to school and being able to play football, or maybe other sports, helps you in confidence, social and emotional development and that gives you confidence.”
Mead and Oberdorf – stars of the show
The report focuses in particular on two players who especially shone at the EURO: England forward and Player of the Tournament Beth Mead – the EURO’s joint leading goalscorer – and German midfielder Lena Oberdorf, Young Player of the Tournament.
“In attack,” the report says, “Mead had the courage to take on opponents in 1 v 1 situations, using her speed and excellent dribbling skills to disrupt and penetrate defensive blocks. Mead displayed exceptional composure in her twisting, turning and finishing ability.”
“[Oberdorf] displayed a maturity way beyond her 20 years. Despite her youth, she performed with the awareness and flexibility of an experienced player, understanding her role and executing it with discipline and commitment.”
Top ten goals
The increased amount of goals at the tournament included a number of classic strikes. The technical team has picked its top ten, which – not exactly surprisingly – is headed by the audacious back-heeled goal scored by England striker Alessia Russo (pictured) in the semi-final against Sweden. “The pick of the bunch,” the observers agreed.
Team of the tournament
The technical team rounded off their on-site work at the Women’s EURO by choosing the Team of the Tournament – which resulted in the finalists England and Germany providing nine of the team, and any number of talented performers narrowly missing out on selection. “Any coach would relish the chance to work with the Team of the Tournament,” the report reflects. “And with the outstanding players who remained on the bench.”