Huge summer of women’s soccer: Your guide to Euros, USWNT qualifiers and more

4 gamers, groups and tournaments to look at for this summer season, from left to proper: Lieke Martens, Netherlands, the Euros; Alex Morgan, USA, CONCACAF W Championship; Asisat Oshoala, Nigeria, Africa Girls Cup of Nations; Debinha, Brazil, Copa America Femenina. Illustration by ESPN

Ahh, summer season — ’tis the season for the gorgeous sport’s greatest and greatest worldwide tournaments. This 12 months, nevertheless, with the World Cup in Qatar set to start out in November, the highlight shall be on what the ladies’s sport has to supply — and there’s a lot on supply.

Virtually each area on the planet has an enormous girls’s soccer match beginning in July the place the very best and most enjoyable gamers shall be squaring off. In each competitors, the stakes are extremely excessive: Both a spot on the 2023 Girls’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand is on the road, or within the case of the European championship, there is a most-ever €16 million prize pool and a few main bragging rights up for grabs.

Let’s simply put it this manner: The month of July goes be enjoyable. For those who’re lower than velocity, we’re right here to assist. That is your information to an epic summer season of ladies’s soccer, with enter from a worldwide workforce of ESPN’s Caitlin Murray, Cesar Hernandez, Sophie Lawson, Ed Dove and Tim Vickery.

Excessive-stakes tournaments throughout the globe

UEFA Girls’s Euro 2022: July 6-31
Usually merely known as the Euros, it is the third-oldest confederation match on the planet, and arguably probably the most prestigious. That is due to the parity and high quality all through Europe, and likewise as a result of it’s a uncommon standalone match that doesn’t double as a World Cup qualifier. Initially a four-team match, the Euros have step by step expanded to 16 groups now, and the match has seen 19 totally different nations compete over time. England will host this summer season, with the monthlong Euros beginning at Outdated Trafford and wrapping up at Wembley Stadium.

The place to look at: ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, the ESPN App (U.S.)

– Watch the Euros LIVE: Navigate the schedule
– Do not have ESPN? Get prompt entry

CONCACAF W Championship: July 4-18
The newly formatted CONCACAF W Championship for North America and the encircling area might not boast the competitiveness of the Euros — the reigning World Cup champion, the U.S. girls’s nationwide workforce, stays the perennial favourite — however it is going to definitely supply the excessive stakes. This match, hosted in Monterrey, Mexico, is a brand new one devised by CONCACAF to function each the qualifiers for the World Cup and the Olympics, so groups need to go all-out to win — even the mighty People.

The place to look at: CBS Sports activities Community, Paramount+ (U.S.)

2 Associated

Africa Girls Cup of Nations: July 2-23
Kicking off in Morocco, the Africa Girls Cup of Nations — known as AWCON for brief — is Africa’s premier girls’s soccer competitors. For 3 weeks, the continent’s most interesting girls’s sides will contest the 14th version of the competitors, with the winner to be determined in a closing in Casablanca, Morocco. Three stadiums in two cities shall be used because the match makes its comeback following a hiatus of three years, and World Cup qualification is on the road. The 4 semifinalists advance mechanically to the 2023 World Cup, with dropping quarterfinalists getting one other likelihood through a playoff.

The place to look at: beIN Sports activities XTRA (U.S.)

Copa America Feminina: July 8-30
girls’s Copa America match involves Colombia for the primary time, and it is maybe overdue — the ladies’s sport is well-established within the nation. This Copa will qualify three South American nations for the 2023 World Cup, with one other two going into playoffs. On this match there are two teams of 5, with the ultimate levels happening in Bucaramanga, and an expectation that a lot of the matches shall be performed in entrance of massive crowds.

The place to look at: FS1, FS2 (U.S.)

OFC Girls’s Nations Cup: July 13-30
Oceania’s World Cup qualifying match in Fiji will look just a little totally different this 12 months as a result of the reigning champion of the final 4 tournaments will not be taking part. That workforce is New Zealand, and as co-host of the 2023 Girls’s World Cup, they’ve mechanically certified for the large stage. (Australia, the opposite co-host, qualifies via Asia after it left the Oceania confederation in 2006.) However which means the OFC Girls’s Nations Cup is assured to have a first-time winner when it is over.

(No U.S. broadcast out there but)

A younger USWNT workforce shall be enjoying for spots in each the 2023 World Cup and the 2024 Olympics once they compete within the CONCACAF W Championship in July. Ronald Martinez/Getty Photographs

Storylines to look at, inquiries to reply

Can the Netherlands repeat on the Euros?
On the final Euros 5 years in the past,
the Dutch had been buoyed on by an ever-growing dwelling crowd to win all of it, and the query is whether or not or not they’ll do it away from dwelling. A workforce present process one thing of a character change since Mark Parsons took over, the European champs might be seen as a wild card this match, nonetheless in a transitional stage.

How will hosts England do?
There’s loads of buzz round England and their potential capacity to harness dwelling help because the Dutch did on the final Euros. The English FA even went so far as to herald the Dutch coach from 2017, Sarina Wiegman, as their new supervisor.

Will France falter once more?
As we head into one other main match, it is unimaginable to flee rumblings round France, who’re in their very own mini group of dying on the Euros. France have lengthy been thought-about a prime contender in world girls’s soccer, however regardless of a lot promise, they’ve little to indicate for it. Similar to Germany, Les Bleues must be at their greatest from their first match towards Italy, an outing towards Belgium one thing of a reprieve earlier than they finish the group stage towards an bettering Iceland.

– Euro 2022 groups: Squad lists for all 16 international locations
– Euro 2022 kits: New jerseys revealed

Will the USWNT’s youth motion repay?
Whereas the U.S. are totally anticipated to qualify for his or her ninth consecutive World Cup, there are lingering questions on how they will do it. Regardless of the presence of long-time veterans Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, and Becky Sauerbrunn, the U.S. roster boasts loads of untested youth. Ten gamers on the roster have by no means competed in a senior World Cup qualifier, and the final time the USWNT got here near lacking out on a World Cup, it was throughout a qualification match in Mexico in 2011. Would possibly Mexico have a repeat of historical past in retailer this July?

Who can problem Nigeria’s supremacy?
Nigeria have loved outstanding dominance through the AWCON’s 31-year historical past, profitable 11 of the 13 earlier editions. They’ve by no means misplaced a closing — failing to succeed in it solely twice — and to recommend they’re the workforce to beat could be an understatement. The Tremendous Falcons are massively widespread in Nigeria, and having received 52 of the 62 matches they’ve performed in match historical past, they are going to be closely anticipated to romp via once more.

Is the opposition to Brazil’s dominance stronger than ever?
Brazil have received all however one of many eight earlier Copas — Argentina got here out on prime once they hosted the 2006 match — and Brazil would nonetheless appear to be means forward of the pack. However the opposition are getting stronger — fitter, extra proficient and extra organized — and contenders like hosts Colombia, Argentina and Chile should not be written off. For Brazil, then, the match is a staging level on the way in which to the 2023 World Cup. An upset is all the time potential, however for Brazil, lacking out on the title is difficult to think about, whereas failing to qualify for the World Cup is unthinkable. For the others, making it to the 2023 World Cup is the principle precedence.

As hosts of the Euros, the strain shall be on the Lionesses to indicate effectively in entrance of the house crowds in England. Mark Fletcher/Getty Photographs

Gamers to look at, from identified stars to potential breakouts

Alexia Putellas, midfielder/ahead, Spain
Thought-about by many to be the very best participant on the planet,
Alexia Putellas shall be tasked with main Spain to their first Euros title ever. Putellas’ accolades are loads — she received the Ballon d’Or final 12 months and was named UEFA’s prime participant of the 12 months — however Spain hasn’t had comparable success. If La Roja can prime their quarterfinals appearances within the earlier two Euros, they are going to be relying on Putellas’ artistic playmaking to do it.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto, striker, France
She wasn’t picked for France’s World Cup squad in 2019 and Marie-Antoinette Katoto might but be an unknown amount to followers world wide no matter a surprising purpose scoring report for PSG or her growing tally for France, which incorporates 24 targets in 28 appearances. A decided striker, Katoto is the purpose scorer the good French groups of 2011 and 2015 had been crying out for, the kind of participant who solely wants service to attain. The 23-year-old is for certain to impress through the Euros if her teammates can get her the ball.

Lauren Hemp, ahead, England
A proficient participant who has already caught the broader eye for her exploits with Manchester Metropolis in addition to Workforce GB on the Tokyo Olympics, Lauren Hemp is ready to cement herself as one of the vital proficient gamers in her age group this summer season. The pacey 21-year-old winger has been delighting for the Lionesses since 2020 and is certain to be certainly one of England’s greatest attacking shops on the Euros.

Damaris Egurrola, midfielder, Netherlands
Having declared her intention to play for the Netherlands, fairly than Spain or the US, the American-born Damaris Egurrola is the pure substitute for an getting old Sherida Spitse on the coronary heart of the Dutch midfield. Regardless of solely incomes her first cap in April, Egurrola has shortly settled into the Oranje facet. In addition to being a dependable midfielder, she has already proven her prowess at set items, with two targets in her two appearances. She is probably not a star but, however she simply would possibly announce herself on the Euros stage.

Megan Rapinoe, winger, U.S.
Does she nonetheless obtained it? The 37-year-old’s inclusion on the roster for the CONCACAF W Championship raised eyebrows and drew pushback from critics, however Rapinoe has that particular undefinable it-factor that coach Vlatko Andonovski stated could not be ignored. She most likely will not be beginning each sport, however her clutch play might be a key issue for the USWNT. Rapinoe, for her half, informed ESPN earlier this week that she is worked up by her new function as a mentor to the children and is not fearful concerning the critics: “If individuals don’t love that, that is wonderful. They are not the coach of the nationwide workforce,” she stated.

Trinity Rodman, ahead, U.S.
On the opposite finish of the spectrum, it is value keeping track of the youngest participant on the USWNT’s roster for World Cup/Olympic qualifying. Named ESPN’s prime U21 participant, Trinity Rodman is greater than the hype surrounding her well-known household. She is the youngest participant ever drafted into the NWSL, was named NWSL Rookie of the 12 months for her debut season final 12 months and led the Washington Spirit to an NWSL Championship in November. The factor is, for all her membership success, she hasn’t proved herself on the senior worldwide stage — no less than, not but. Andonovski has cautioned towards anticipating an excessive amount of from her too quickly, however the CONCACAF W Championship may be her huge breakout.

-Unique Trinity Rodman interview: The long run has arrived
-ESPN’s greatest gamers below 21: Trinity Rodman tops the record

Alicia Cervantes, ahead, Mexico
Mexico can have no lack of ahead choices within the CONCACAF W Championship, however none have been as lethal as Alicia Cervantes of Chivas. The 28-year-old, who was the Liga MX Femenil main purpose scorer in each the 2021 Apertura and 2022 Clausura tournaments, is a continuing risk within the 18-yard field together with her potent ending and aerial capabilities. Cervantes has averaged a purpose each 83.3 minutes of standard season play since final summer season and scored 5 instances in Mexico’s 4 CONCACAF W qualifiers this 12 months. If Mexico goes to qualify for a World Cup and the Olympics, Cervantes must play an enormous function.

Asisat Oshoala, striker, Nigeria
She is the undisputed celebrity of African girls’s soccer. A Barcelona ahead, Champions League winner, and four-time African Girls’s Footballer of the 12 months, Asisat Oshoala is probably the most adorned participant within the historical past of African soccer — and plenty of would argue she’s the best the continent’s sport has ever seen. She’s already received the title on three earlier events, however after recovering from a current harm, she’ll be raring so as to add additional Golden Balls and Golden Boots to her expansive trophy haul.

Deyna Castellanos, ahead, Venezuela
There shall be a number of eyes on the Venezuelan striker, who at membership stage is now swapping Atletico Madrid for Manchester Metropolis. Venezuela are certainly one of 5 South American nations by no means to have made it to a World Cup at senior stage or an Olympics, however the nation has excessive hopes of the technology who did effectively in under-17 soccer again in 2014, and Deyna Castellanos is the chief of the pack. Again in 2017, she was positioned on the shortlist for FIFA’s greatest participant of the 12 months. Castellanos ought to now be eager to indicate that her time has arrived.

Alexia Putellas, the Spanish playmaker and Barcelona star, shall be a prime participant to look at on the 2022 Euros. Alex Caparro/Getty Photographs

Key dates and matches on your calendar

July 4: Nigeria vs. South Africa
Heavyweights Nigeria and
South Africa had been pitted collectively of their Group C opener at AWCON, which can happen on the Stade Moulay Hassan in Rabat. Not solely is that this a blockbuster bout between two of the match favorites, but it surely’s additionally a rematch of the 2018 closing — the final match performed within the competitors — as underdogs Banyana Banyana regarded poised for an upset over the Falcons earlier than finally succumbing on penalties.

July 6: England vs. Austria
Because the opener of the 2022 Euros, this match is already value scribbling in your calendar for the pomp and circumstance alone. The final time England hosted the Euros again in 2005, a report crowd confirmed up for the opener, and the ambiance for this one must be even higher. However fortunately, that is additionally a strong matchup. England and Austria each reached the semifinals on the final Euros in 2017 and shall be wanting to difficulty a press release of intent.

July 9: Netherlands vs. Sweden
This guarantees to be an intriguing group stage match to set the tone, not only for Group C of the Euros, however the entire of the match and who we’re more likely to see within the final 4. The previous two aggressive conferences of the 2 nations have seen the Dutch triumph, knocking Sweden out on the quarterfinal stage of the final Euros earlier than dispatching them in further time of the World Cup semifinals in 2019.

July 9: Brazil vs. Argentina
Brazil meet Argentina in Armenia, Colombia on the second day of the Copa America Femenina. It is a assembly of the one two groups ever to have received the trophy. Argentina, as was clear from their previous World Cup marketing campaign, have labored exhausting on tightening their protection, whereas the Brazil facet will not be scoring as many targets as they want. The script for this match, then, would appear to revolve round whether or not Argentina can frustrate the Brazilians.

Make picks all through the Girls’s European Championship for a shot at $5,000.
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July 11: USA vs. Mexico
Whereas the rivalry between these two nations is red-hot on the boys’s facet, it has been tempered a bit on the ladies’s facet by the dominance of the U.S. and Mexico’s struggles to maintain up. Nonetheless, there’s a big wrinkle to remember: The one time the U.S. nearly didn’t qualify for a Girls’s World Cup got here in 2011 in a loss to — you guessed it — Mexico, in Mexico.

July 12: Germany vs. Spain
Die Nationalelf and La Roja will sq. off in a match that pits one longtime European powerhouse towards a brand new child on the block. It might be prudent to keep in mind that when these two sides met earlier this 12 months on the Arnold Clark Cup, the match ended 1-1 and it figures to be a good affair once more. With Germany and Spain each viable candidates to win the Euros in a really tough Group B, this shall be a key match.

July 15: England vs. Northern Eire
The hosts of the Euros tackle a workforce that’s showing of their first main match ever. England are the heavy favorites, and on condition that the Lionesses rolled Northern Eire the final time they met, it most likely will not be shut, however a scrappy efficiency from the debutante may hold issues enjoyable.

July 16: Denmark vs. Spain
After you watch Germany face Spain on July 12, you may have to return again for this one. With Group B slated to be the so-called “group of dying” as a result of it has three viable Euros contenders in Germany, Spain and Denmark, this match may ship the ultimate blow for certainly one of these groups.

July 18: Olympics spot-decider
By today, we are going to already know which groups within the CONCACAF W Championship have clinched their World Cup spots — we are going to know some berths earlier than the knockout video games begin — however the closing of the match will determine the lone automated qualification spot for the 2024 Olympics. Whereas a lot of the different tournaments in July do have World Cup spots on the road, no different match will determine who’s going to the Paris Olympics. The favorites are the U.S. and Canada, however something is feasible.

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