Hosts the Netherlands and holders Germany are joined in the top group of seeds for Tuesday's draw by France and England. We profile the four leading contenders.
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Hosts the Netherlands and holders Germany are joined in the top group of seeds for Tuesday's UEFA Women's EURO 2017 draw by France and England. We profile the four leading contenders.
- Pots in full (draw streamed live at 17:30CET from Rotterdam)
Pot 1: Netherlands (hosts, placed in Group A), Germany (holders), France, England
Pot 2: Norway, Sweden, Spain, Switzerland
Pot 3: Italy, Iceland, Scotland, Denmark
Pot 4: Austria, Belgium, Russia, Portugal
- Pot 1 profiles
2013: Group stage
EURO best: Semi-finals (2009)
How they qualified: Automatically as hosts
Coach: Arjan van der Laan
One to watch: Vivianne Miedema (forward, Bayern München)
What to watch out for: Having made their breakthrough as the steely defensive side that reached the EURO semi-finals on debut under Vera Pauw, the Netherlands have become a team more in the classic Dutch mould under first Roger Reijners and, for the last 12 months, Van der Laan. With the former still in charge, they earned a FIFA Women's World Cup bow in 2015, narrowly losing to eventual runners-up Japan in the last 16.
With no qualification duties this time, they have kept themselves busy: their 7-0 win in Scotland and 4-2 loss in Germany in October were their tenth and 11th games of 2016, with Belgium and England to come this month. The recent retirement of forward Manon Melis has put the spotlight even more firmly on Miedema, whose goals – with the youngster fresh from winning the 2014 WU19 EURO – propelled the Netherlands to the World Cup.
EURO best: Winners (1989, 1991, 1995, 1997, 2001, 2005, 2009, 2013)
How they qualified: Group 5 winners, W8 D0 L0 F35 A0 P24
Coach: Steffi Jones
One to watch: Anja Mittag (forward, Wolfsburg)
What to watch out for: Germany's reign as European champions now stands at over two decades and they are on to their fourth coach in that time: the late Gero Bisanz handing over to Tina Theune, herself succeeded by Silvia Neid, who stepped down in favour of Jones after leading German to their first Olympic gold in Brazil this August.
Jones's appointment had been announced well in advance and the former defender had been added to the coaching team, ensuring a smooth succession which is matched on the pitch. Even as the likes of Nadine Angerer, Saskia Bartusiak, Nadine Kessler and Célia Šašić retire, the production line guarantees Germany's machine rolls on, currently on a run of eight straight victories. The team to beat, still.
EURO best: Quarter-finals (2009, 2013)
How they qualified: Group 3 winners, W8 D0 L0 F27 A0 P24
Coach: Olivier Echouafni
One to watch: Camille Abily (midfielder, Lyon)
What to watch out for: In terms of raw talent, France perhaps ought to have been the dominant nation in Europe in recent years, rather than having suffered a series of quarter-final near-misses, at global level as well as in the past two EUROs. The UEFA Women's Champions League supremacy of Lyon, with a very similar squad to Les Bleues, is proof of that.
But it has not happened and three years after replacing Bruno Bini as coach, Philippe Bergeroo has himself made way for Olivier Echouafni. Can he help France turn their habitual superiority in big matches into goals? That is the key for the team who, on paper, should be Germany's strongest challengers.
2013: Group stage
EURO best: Runners-up (1984, 2009)
How they qualified: Group 7 winners, W7 D1 L0 F32 A1 P22
One to watch: Steph Houghton (defender, Manchester City)
Coach: Mark Sampson
What to watch out for: With England transformed into serious contenders by long-serving manager Hope Powell, the disappointment of 2013 prompted her departure and the appointment of young Welshman Mark Sampson. A surprise run to World Cup bronze in 2015, beating Germany in the third-place play-off, was perhaps England's greatest performance and the increasing professionalism of the domestic league has given Sampson a greater pool of talent to pick from than his predecessors ever had.
With Alex Scott, Casey Stoney, Jill Scott, Fara Williams and Karen Carney all having more than 100 caps, and talents like Demi Stokes and Nikita Parris emerging, England have a potent blend – even if, like France, they have recently struggled for goals against the top sides (the two in fact drew 0-0 in October).