UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 Preview
The 2013 UEFA Women’s Euro kicks off on Wednesday, July 10 in Sweden, the host nation. For viewers in the United States, all games will be shown live on ESPN3.
The venues for the Championship will include the 30,000 seater Friends Arena, which will host the final on July 28. Gamla Ullevi will also host three group matches and one semi-final, Nya Parken will also hold a number of group matches with the other semi-final. The quarter-finals and other group matches will be played in Guldfågeln Arena, Myresjöhus Arena, Arena Linköping and Örjans Vall.
The Germans will be looking to win their eighth title following their Euro 2009 success in Finland, but England will be keen to win their first Euro title after coming so close in the competition four years ago.
England, ranked seventh in the world, kick off their Euro 2013 against Spain on July 12 and will compete in the same group as France and Russia. Group C could be labeled as the hardest group in the tournament, with France becoming one of the most dominant nations of late. The Euro 2009 quarter-finalists were also impressive in the 2011 World Cup, finishing fourth under Bruno Bini. Russia’s best result in the European Championships is the quarter-finals but they will be fortunate to reach that far this year with the group they’ve been given, the side didn’t qualify for the World Cup in 2011 and have had a replacement coach since. However, Russia’s warm-up matches for the competition have been fairly successful, having only lost once since February.
Germany, one of the most successful teams in women’s football, will begin their campaign against the Netherlands at Växjö Arena. The two nations will compete in Group B with Iceland and Norway. It will be Iceland’s second time in the Euro’s, having competed in the Championship for the first time in 2009. In contrast, Norway are former European, World and Olympic champions and thus one of the most successful national teams
The first match of the tournament will be Italy vs Finland on July 10 at Örjans Vall. The Italians reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2009 and have looked strong under fairly new manager Antonio Cabrini, having remained unbeaten during the qualifying rounds for Euro 2013.
Italy and Finland will share Group A with tournament hosts Sweden and Denmark, who have failed to have much of an impact on women’s football in recent years. The Sweden international side have been granted with hugely generous funds to help develop the side, they are currently ranked sixth in the world, which is also their lowest ever FIFA ranking.
The 2013 Championship will be the final time the competition is held with just twelve teams. From 2017 onwards, 16 teams will compete.