EURO’s Roar Hear All Around The World: A Group Stage Recap

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The first round of the UEFA Women’s Euros is officially over. With the quarterfinals set, we’re taking a look back at the group stage, and breaking down the winners and losers.


Group A

 Standings:

  1. Netherlands
  2. Denmark
  3. Belgium
  4. Norway

Breakdown:

  1. The Netherlands

The host nation have come out with a surprisingly strong start to their competition. They finished their group with 9 points in three games, defeating Norway 1-0, Denmark 1-0, and Belgium 2-1. Each match featured different goal-scorers–showing the diversity of their attack–and the defense only allowed a single goal across the three matches. Ranked 12th in the world, the Netherlands are certainly giving people a reason to talk as they head into their quarterfinal match against Sweden.

  1. Denmark

Featuring Portland Thorns striker Nadia Nadim, Denmark made a strong showing in the group stage. Their only loss came at the hands of the Netherlands, which was also the only goal they allowed. That defensive showing was strong, but with only two goals scored in three matches, they’ll need to find more attacking power if they expect to win against Germany.

  1. Belgium

Belgium has been an up-and-down team leading up to the tournament, and the same remained true in the group stage. They beat Norway 2-0 and were competitive against the Netherlands, losing 1-2 after a 74th minute goal from Martens. This was a team that stayed tight in a pre-tournament friendly with France, but lost to Spain 0-7. The good performances are evidence of real quality, and there are definitely positives to take away from their tournament experience, but they’ll need to find more consistency moving forward.

  1. Norway

Widely considered to be title contenders, this was a disappointing showing for Norway. They lost all three matches, failing to score a single goal in the process. Considering their squad features Ada Hegerberg, the best scorer in Europe if not the world, Norway cannot help but be upset on their trip home. It could be a career defining moment for Martin Sjögren, who took over the team in December 2016.


Group B

 Standings:

  1. Germany
  2. Sweden
  3. Russia
  4. Italy

Breakdown:

  1. Germany

The defending champions won their group fairly comfortably, with two wins over Russia and Italy, and a scoreless draw against Sweden. But they’ll need to show something more if they hope to come home with their seventh-straight title. Of their four goals scored in the group stage, three came off of penalties. That’s concerning for a team historically known for great goal-scoring. Germany haven’t lost a knockout game in this competition since 1993. Could this be the year that changes?

  1. Sweden

Sweden will be going to the quarterfinals, but are probably disappointed to have finished in second. They started the tournament off strong, earning a tight draw with Germany, the team they lost to in the Olympic Final. Overall, they scored four goals in three matches, which will be pleasing for a team that have often struggled to find the net. But allowing Italy to score three goals in that final group stage match is bound to sting—they’ll have to keep their usual sharp defense against a Dutch team that has scored in each of their matches.

  1. Russia

Russia and Italy will both pleased to have kept up with two of the top teams in the world. In the end, they finished just one point behind Sweden. Russia’s win came in their match against Italy. In their other two games, they failed to score while allowing four goals. There weren’t a lot of bright spots in those games, but they should still be happy to have stayed competitive with the best in the world.

  1. Italy

After their first match against Russia, it looked like Italy might be one of the worst teams in the tournament. But it’s unfortunate that they started off their tournament on the wrong foot because after that defeat they looked a very different team–staying competitive with Germany and ultimately beating Sweden 3-2 in their final match. Had it not been for a red card against Germany and a weak match against Russia, we could be telling a different story. Unfortunately, it wasn’t Italy’s day.


Group C

 Standings:

  1. Austria
  2. France
  3. Switzerland
  4. Iceland

Breakdown:

  1. Austria

This is Austria’s first Euro tournament and I don’t think anyone expected them to finish at the top of their group. But they have put on an impressive performance, and the momentum that they have gained from winning this group is likely to give them a boost in the next stage of the competition. They finished with seven points, earning wins over Switzerland and Iceland and drawing against France. They are the first Austrian team, male or female, to win a game at the Euros. Now it’s just a question of how far they can go.

  1. France

France lives to see another day thanks to a late equalizer against Switzerland from Camile Abily. But they put themselves in significant danger and were a mere twenty minutes from missing out on the next stage. For a team who entered the tournament as a favorite, that will be massively disappointing.  In the end, thanks to that goal, they finished with five points, consisting of a victory over Iceland and draws against Switzerland and Austria. They scored only three goals and looked sloppy defensively, two things that could spell serious danger with England waiting on their horizon.  If they can right the ship, they still have a chance to take home the title, but it won’t be an easy road ahead.

  1. Switzerland

I think many—including the Swiss team—expected them to move out of the group stage. Ultimately, they finished just one point behind France thanks to a loss in their opening game against Austria. Ramona Bachmann was named Player of the Match in their game against France, but it wasn’t quite enough. After some solid performances, Switzerland will be sad to leave this tournament early.

  1. Iceland

Iceland looked like a bit of a dark horse going into the tournament–a team on the upswing, who may have been hoping to mirror their male counterparts. Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t to be. They failed to win or draw a single game in their group and only scored one goal in three matches. Their squad features many well-known players, including Dagny Brynjarsdottir of the Portland Thorns, who will be returning to the NWSL sooner than she had hoped.


Group D

Standings:

  1. England
  2. Spain
  3. Scotland
  4. Portugal

Breakdown:

  1. England

England are probably the team with the most momentum in the tournament right now. They’ve been on the upswing ever since their trip to the semi-finals in the 2015 Women’s World Cup.  They finished with three wins in three matches, winning Group D without much difficulty. Jodie Taylor currently leads the tournament in scoring with four goals—including a hat trick in the team’s opener against Scotland. But the whole team has contributed to their success, and to their lead in tournament scoring, with six other goals across the three games to give them an impressive goal differential within their group. Now, they go on to face France in the quarterfinals.

  1. Spain

Spain is one of the more inconsistent teams in the tournament, and the last day of matches proved that. The team just narrowly made it to the next round, tying Portugal and Scotland on points, and only advancing on tiebreakers. That’s a surprising result after their strong start to the tournament–with a win over Portugal and a tough loss against England.  Now, they will go on to face Austria in the Quarterfinals—a team that has a ton of motivation and momentum after out-playing France to win Group C.

  1. Scotland

Considering they opened their tournament with a 0-6 loss to England, Scotland had a pretty good group stage. They lost their second match against Portugal 2-1, but won their final match against Spain 1-0 and were only one goal away from qualifying for the next stage. And all that without their star player, Kim Little, who is out with a ruptured ligament. They will be sad to go home, but happy that they kept the competition tight.

  1. Portugal

Similar to Scotland, the situation didn’t look too good for Portugal after their 0-2 loss to Spain. They were completely dominated in that initial match, but came back to win their second game against Scotland and probably posed the largest threat to England in their group. Unfortunately for them, England held strong and denied Portugal the goal that would have lifted them to that second place slot. Like Scotland, they will be upset to go home, but they should be proud of their performance and the growth that their federation has shown.