September 30, 2022

It is finally here ! After weeks of preparation, months of qualifying and years of anticipation leading up to this moment – including the year-long delay due to the coronavirus pandemic – we are finally ready to kick off Women’s Euro 2022, which will be broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN+ in the United States throughout the month.

– Fixtures: Daily match schedule
– Scores: Track every game
– Tables: All group rankings

We’ve looked at the squads, talking points, kits, rich tournament history, toughest stars and many of the top contenders including Norway, England, Sweden and France. But before things kick off on Wednesday between England and Austria — 3 p.m. ET on ESPN+ – we asked some of our editors to pick their best pre-tournament XIs based on expected performance.

Admittedly, this was filed before the terrible news that Spain’s Alexia Putellas, one of the best players in the world (and No. tournament, but always!

So these are the players we suggest having a big tournament; check back after the competition to see who lived up to expectations.


Kathleen McNamee: Katoto for Golden Boot?

4-2-3-1: Sandra Panos (Spain); Magdalena Eriksson (Sweden), Millie Bright (England), Wendie Renard (France), Selma Bacha (France); Alexia Putellas (Spain), Aitana Bonmati (Spain); Beth Mead (England), Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway), Lauren Hemp (England); Marie Antoinette Katoto (France)

Trying to pick a best XI before the tournament even before a ball is kicked is a daunting task and the likelihood of swallowing our words after July 31 is high, but we persevere!

There are several Golden Boot contenders, with Marie-Antoinette Katoto high on that list – especially now given Putellas’ injury. The French striker has allowed Paris Saint-Germain to fire on all cylinders this season, and while France go deep into the competition, they have several goals in them.

– Euro 2022: daily guide to coverage, features, fixtures, etc.
– Every LIVE Euros match on ESPN: Browse the schedule

Anyone who has watched Barcelona this season would say there is no doubt about the midfield picks despite Putellas’ absence. Caroline Graham Hansen normally plays on the right wing with Barca, but the No.10 is where she fits in with Norway. Meanwhile, Man City’s Lauren Hemp is quickly proving to be one of the best wingers in the world. Her speed and skills are second to none, and just 21 years old, she has just won the 2022 PFA Young Player of the Year award – the fourth time she has won the award!

After missing out on the England squad that made it to the 2021 Olympics, Beth Mead has had one of the best seasons of her career and her confidence is expected to be high heading into the tournament.

At the back, experience is key. Wendie Renard of France is the kind of leader any team would be lucky to have. Although a veteran, France also have the exciting Selma Bacha in their ranks, a defender who isn’t afraid to push higher up the wing to support the attack. Millie Bright was key to getting Chelsea out of some sticky spots this season as they managed to win their third Women’s Super League trophy in a row. She is joined by teammate Magda Eriksson, who is good at pulling the strings on a defense and making sure everyone stays in line. When she was injured during the season with Chelsea, her vocal influence on the pitch was noticeably lacking.


Sophie Lawson: Experience will be key… so will the draw

3-4-3: Hedvig Lindahl (Sweden); Wendie Renard (France), Alex Greenwood (England), Selma Bacha (France); Aitana Bonmati (Spain), Leah Williamson (England), Pernille Harder (Denmark), Fridolina Rolfö (Sweden); Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway), Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands), Lauren Hemp (England)

A pre-tournament best XI can indeed be a strange thing, as you’re not just looking at currently fit players or those who often play well for their country, but you’re considering how likely they are to play in games at come – something that may depend more on their opposition than on themselves.

So who do we think will make an impact this summer?

At the head of the attack, I opted for Vivianne Miedema because, despite all the disorder within the Dutch team at the approach of the Euros, I can see her scoring strongly in group B, while Katoto is likely to come up against defenses that might prove a little more difficult. unlock. On either side of the Arsenal striker we have Hemp and Graham Hansen, who are both in sublime form and still playing for their respective national teams.

Pernille Harder sits at the tip of a diamond midfield, providing even more forwards with Fridolina Rolfö on the left and Aitana Bonmatí balancing the right side of midfield. With Spain still the wildcard or unknown quantity this summer, individuals will be the key to La Roja and the Barcelonan is up to it. At the base of midfield is Leah Williamson, who will likely float between midfield in the ‘double pivot’ (with Keira Walsh) and centre-back this summer, but she’s a very much to watch for the Lionesses.

The back line has the most liberties taken – as the best XIs often do – with two left-backs and a centre-back. Although tempted to put Renard’s defensive partner Griedge Mbock in place of the towering CB, we opted for the ‘Fox in the Box’ due to his talent for scoring goals. If she can achieve a crucial goal, as she has so often done for The Bluesshe will probably be remembered more at the end of the month.

Next to Renard is Alex Greenwood, who has appropriated the role of centre-back since club manager Gareth Taylor revived his former position, and she has thrived in central defence. Finally, we have Bacha, probably the hottest full-back in Europe this season; his ability to add to the attack is absolutely huge for both Lyon and France. Hoping she has the leeway to go up and down the side.

In goal, it has to be one of the most reliable goals in women’s football in Europe: veteran Sweden No.1 and oldest Euro player Hedvig Lindahl.


Julien Laurens: Make room for two forwards

4-4-2: Sandra Panos (Spain); Lucy Bronze (England), Wendy Renard (France), Lena Oberdorf (Germany), Magdalena Eriksson (Sweden); Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway), Sara Dabritz (Germany), Manuela Giugliano (Italy), Lauren Hemp (England); Vivienne Miedema (Netherlands), Marie-Antoinette Katoto (France)

There is so much attacking talent in Europe at the moment that a formation with two attackers is a real no-brainer here for us. The hardest part is actually picking the two forwards, as there are easily six or seven super talented No.9s out there right now!

Ultimately, however, we go to Katoto and Miedema. Katoto had a great season individually despite a difficult context and environment at PSG. The France team is hers now, and we expect her to deliver on her promises. Miedema will play right behind her, as “N°9 and a half” where she can create and score. The Dutch international enjoyed another record season with Arsenal and should have little trouble continuing in that vein.

My 4-4-2 would obviously have included Putellas, the best player in the world, but her injury means that she will unfortunately not participate in the tournament. To replace her, I chose Sara Dabritz. The German will have to play a bit lower, but she will bring a lot of creativity and leadership to the team. She will be the heart of my very offensive team.

Alongside him in the starting role, we were impressed this season by the Italian Manuela Giugliano. She works hard, she’s smart and she’s also a good passer. She’ll be perfect alongside the Ballon d’Or, and she’ll protect our back four, even though she’s so good and complete that she won’t need much protection!

Renard and Lena Oberdorf are our two central defenders: they would be the perfect mix of experience and size, youth and technique. At 20, the versatile Oberdorf is expected to be one of the stars of the tournament, not just for Germany. Frenchman Renard is also such a threat from set pieces.

The two full-backs complement each other well in Lucy Bronze on the right and Eriksson on the left. We want the England international to be the more attacking of the two, while the Swede offers more balance on both sides of the ball. Finally, in goal, the Spaniard Sandra Panos corresponds exactly to what we expect from our goalkeeper: to be proactive, to play from the back, both on the ball and on her line.

to play

2:08

Brits Lucy Bronze, Fran Kirby, Ellen White and Beth Mead take ESPN’s You Have To Answer quiz.


Tom Hamilton: Choosing a core from Barcelona (and Spain)

4-2-3-1: Sandra Panos (Spain); Hanna Glas (Sweden), Irene Paredes (Spain), Magda Eriksson (Norway), Selma Bacha (France); Lena Oberdorf (Germany), Aitana Bonmati (Spain); Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway), Fran Kirby (England), Lauren Hemp (England); Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands)

We expect England and Spain to go far in the tournament, but we’ve opted for a Barcelona backbone for the team that should be the driving force behind Spain’s charge at Euro 2022. This team will play in a fluid 4-2-3-1, with the three attacking players largely interchangeable against the ruthless Miedema. England’s Fran Kirby and Hemp should have brilliant championships, while Graham Hansen – the Norway and Barcelona star – should also dazzle.

It was a tough choice between Miedema, Ada Hegerberg and Katoto initially, but Miedema just got through it. At the back, Bacha is expected to be the Euro’s standout left-back, while Hanna Glas will be the guiding light in a solid field at right-back ahead of Bronze, who pushed her close to making the grade in our chosen XI. Panos is probably the second best goalkeeper in the world after Chilean Christiane Endler, so she is a shoe for that spot.

Eriksson has been immense for Chelsea this year and should translate that to the international stage, while Irene Paredes and Bonmati pick each other in the middle of the park.