Lionesses launch exciting month of EURO football

FOOTBALL FANS have plenty to look forward to this month as England hosts the UEFA Women’s EURO finals at venues across the country.

The winning teams will battle it out for the coveted UEFA Women's EURO finals at Wembley Stadium
The winning teams will battle it out for the coveted UEFA Women's EURO finals at Wembley Stadium

The tournament, delayed from 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, starts on July 6 when England play Austria in the opener at Old Trafford, and will culminate in the final at London’s iconic Wembley Stadium on July 31.

England’s Lionesses qualify automatically as hosts, joined by 15 other nations in play for the winners’ trophy, which England just lost on two previous occasions in 1984 and 2009. They are among favourites this year, led by manager Sarina Wiegman.

Russia will not take part, despite having qualified, due to their country’s invasion of the Ukraine. They are replaced by Portugal.

Sarina Wiegman, England's manager, looks on during a recent England Women training session at Elland Road, Leeds, England. (Photo Michael Regan/Getty Images)

With 31 matches to play at ten different venues, hundreds of thousands of fans will be watching live, with TV coverage attracting millions more. A dedicated app will update on every moment of matches and results.

It’s only the second time that the UK has hosted the whole tournament, and an economic boost to the tune of £54m is expected for host towns and cities.

The top two from each of four groups will go into the quarter finals, then it’s a straight knockout.

The first semi-final takes place at Sheffield’s Bramall Lane on July 26 and the other is the evening of July 27 at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes.

If it’s a draw at full-time in the final, two 15-minute periods of extra time are played. If one team scores more goals during extra time, that team wins. If the score is still equal after extra time, it’s down to penalties.

The only final so far to be decided on penalties was at Luton in 1984.

Six of the world’s top ten teams are competing, namely Sweden, France, Netherlands, Germany, Spain and England.

Italy and Norway take part for the twelfth time, while Germany have taken the trophy eight times.

Grounds on which the action will take place this year include; Brighton and Hove (Brighton and Hove Community Stadium), London (Brentford Community Stadium and Wembley Stadium – final), Manchester (Manchester City Academy Stadium), Milton Keynes (Stadium MK), Rotherham (New York Stadium), Sheffield (Bramall Lane), Southampton (St Mary’s Stadium), Trafford (Old Trafford – opening game), and Wigan and Leigh (Leigh Sports Village).