The key events:
As you can see in the main image of the report, the manager of the Netherlands men’s team, Louis van Gaal, is in Sheffield to support his country. The last time he was at Bramall Lane was in January 2016, when Wayne Rooney handed his Manchester United side a 1-0 victory in the FA Cup third round. He hopes to leave the stadium as happy as he was then.
The first match of Group C between Portugal and Switzerland ended 2-2 after an emotional second-half comeback from the Portuguese, who should have won. A draw suits both heavy hitters in this game. Here’s Will Unwin’s report on Leigh.
Two goals in the first five minutes, coupled with good weather in Leigh, sent Switzerland on vacation. They thought the game was over but Portugal dominated the game to earn a deserved draw in their Euro 2022 opener.
Swedish manager Peter Gerhardsson speaks. He doesn’t have as much to say as Mark Parsons.
They are among the best teams. It’s going to be a tough game. The first game, you’re not sure what’s going to happen. It’s a special game because they won the tournament [in 2017].
The Netherlands have an Englishman as their manager. Mark Parsons made a name for himself in the United States with NWSL team Portland Thorns. He has been in office for a little over a year. Here’s what he had to say before the game:
We face a great adversary. Defending will be important but we have special players who have the qualities to hurt Sweden. We finally have everyone healthy and available after nine months of not having it. These players, this team, when the tournament comes around, they grow two feet taller. We will show our strengths and impose our identity on this game. We are happy that everyone is in their place. There will be no bigger physical test than Sweden. They are high energy. The less transition we see will suit us, the more transition will suit them.
You might see quite a few empty seats on the upper tier of Bramall Lane tonight and it feels like UEFA could have done more to fill them:
Here’s someone who will likely have a say in how this game plays out tonight:
So Stina Blackstenius isn’t deemed fit enough to start for Sweden, but that’s not a bad option to come off the bench, is it? On the Dutch side, it’s as you would expect with the trident Roord, Miedema and Martens in attack. What a trio, huh?
Netherlands (4-3-3): Van Veenendaal (c); Wilms, Van der Gragt, Nouwen, Janssen; Groenen, Van de Donk, Spitse; Roord, Miedema, Martens. Subtitles: Van Domselaar, Lorsheyd, Van Dongen, Beerensteyn, Pelova, R Jansen, Dijkstra, Leuchter, Casparij, Olislagers, Egurrola, Brugts
Sweden (3-4-3): Lindahl; Ilestedt, Bjorn, Eriksson; Glas, Angeldal, Seger (c), J Andersson; Asilani, Hurtig, Rolfo. Subtitles: Falk, Musovic, Sembrant, Nilden, Kullberg, Jakobsson, Blackstenius, Blomqvist, Rytting Kaneryd, Bennison, Schough, Rubensson.
Arbitrator: Cherly FosterWal
Evening. This should be a cracker! The Netherlands, ranked four in the world, take on No. 2 Sweden. There is talent in both teams – supreme attacking prowess from Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens for the Orange, to deadly striker Stina Blackstenius and chic defensive rock Magda Eriksson for the Blue and Yellow. Let’s not forget that the Dutch are also defending champions and won’t want to see a dent in their crown as they start defending it.
The Netherlands have won every qualifying game, but the Swedes are probably in better shape heading into the tournament. They beat Brazil 3-1 in an impressive final warm-up game, while the Dutch will still remember this England’s 5-1 loss plays on their minds despite two quiet wins over Belarus and Finland. We get the feeling that Mark Parsons, their England manager, is still trying to find the right tactical setup to make the most of all the talent he has.
The match is also played in a real football stadium. A large and passionate crowd is expected at Bramall Lane in Sheffield and I’ll predict they will be entertained. After seeing Germany make an impression with their impressive 4-0 loss to the Danes, both sides will want to show they mean business. I expect goals.
My prediction: Netherlands 2-2 Sweden