Women’s Euro 2022: Ones To Watch

We are a few days away from the opening match of the Women’s Euro 2022 between England and Austria at a sold out Old Trafford. We wanted to highlight some of our favourite talents that will be taking part in the competition and that will be pivotal in their team’s successes.

Vivianne Miedema – The Netherlands 🇳🇱 

On the verge of 100 goals for The Netherlands, it is no surprise to see Vivianne Miedema leads our list. The Arsenal forward boasts a record of 94 goals in 111 caps for her country at the age of 25. Despite being one of the most decorated players in the game she is known for her humility and attempts to shy away from the limelight.

Named the G.O.A.T at Arsenal her ability in front of goal is deadly to the opposition and when she is not scoring goals, she is setting them up for her teammates. Her versatility and technical ability make her one of the best women’s footballers of all time.

The striker is the record holding top scorer in the WSL and so she is no stranger to scoring on English soil. Having won the last Euros in The Netherlands in 2017 she recently described the upcoming tournament as like a “second home Euros” and this will be firing her on. She will be looking to disrupt defences across the tournament and can shoot with both her left and right foot and she has a punishing header too.

By Eloise Martin

Rachel Furness – Northern Ireland

As the new “kids on the tournament block”, Northern Ireland will be going in with a point to prove this summer. After qualifying for the Euros for the first time in their history they will join England, Austria and Norway to make up Group A.

One of their star players, and my one to watch, is attacking midfielder Rachel Furness. Since making her senior debut in 2005 Furness has been at the forefront of everything the squad has done, becoming their all-time top goal scorer last year with 38 goals.
 
She plays her club football for Liverpool, where she is also known to have an eye for goal. Her attacking mind means she will be dangerous for both the midfield and the defence of NI’s opponents.
 
By Louise Golby

Hawa Cissoko – France

Oh Hawa Cissoko

Having precious few caps for her country. Cissoko has been criminally underused by the French national team. Hopefully this tournament can change that.

To say Cissoko is a solid defender would be an understatement. Looking at her last couple of seasons with West Ham, you can see why she has piqued Corinne Diacre’s interest.
She has saved the Hammers from some almost certain defeat. Fast thinking, fast footed and fast paced. Cissoko has proved why she has  deserved her current flurry of call ups.

Having one of the top defensive work rates within the WSL Cissoko has a tackle average of 3.5 per game and over 50 different players taken out within last season. Hawa has shown a fearless streak which France has been missing in the recent change on their regime.
But its not just brute strength that the 25 year old brings. A clever tactical player who isn’t scared yo throw their body on the way of the ball.

Why you should be watching out for Hawa.

Her unpredictability and versatility makes her a exciting player. She has the pace of a winger, the build of a centre half and the tactical mind of a captain.
You can guarantee that with Cissoko the game will not be dull.

Also this maybe your last chance to see her in France squad as she has expressed interest in switching her alliance to Mali. Allowing her to be part of the growing game in Africa.

By Allie Heppell

Guro Reiten – Norway 🇳🇴 

Guro Reiten was the breakout star for Norway in the 2019 World Cup which saw her secure a move to Chelsea.

The versatile left-footer is confident on the ball and her ability to dribble past defenders attacking the space is matched with pinpoint crosses which help create shots for her team mates.

Reiten’s crossing and passing range from dead balls and open play will strike fear into opposing teams given Caroline Graham Hansen and the returning Ada Hegerberg will be on the end of them.

The Chelsea star has a keen eye for goal herself scoring 14 international and 24 in her three seasons with the English champions.

Reiten has a knack for finding ways to influence a match at opportune times, this coupled with her energy will make Norway Euro contenders.

By Niamh Archibald

Griedge Mbock Bathy – France 🇫🇷 

While France have a myriad of choices in attack, the defence often gets left as an afterthought in many fans’ eyes.

When the defence is mentioned, attention normally turns to their great leader, Wendie Renard. While the praise and adoration that Renard receives is right and just, the rest of the defence gets glossed over, but I am backing Griedge Mbcok Bathy to have a breakout tournament this summer.

The centre-half has formed a formidable partnership with Renard since making her debut in 2013 and has been a mainstay in the team ever since. I had the chance to watch her playing against Wales in the World Cup qualifiers in April, and while Renard won aerials duels, she would sometimes struggle against the pace of someone like Carrie Jones.

This is where Mbock Bathy comes into her own. Her speed, defensive awareness, and communication was exceptional that night, especially when Renard was up the other end of the field. And with the amount of pace some teams possess in these Euros, the presence of Mbock Bathy will calm many French nerves. If France are to finally win a major trophy the defence will have to play their part, and I am backing Mbock Bathy to drive her team to victory.

By Sion Misra

Rachel Daly – England 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁥󠁮󠁧󠁿 

For those European fans that may be new to the game or those fans that have no interest in the NWSL the name Rachel Daly may not be one you are familiar with but she is definitely a player to keep your eye on throughout the tournament. Over the past few years Daly has really managed to make a name for herself on the pitch over in the States and slowly but surely she is getting the game time she deserves for England.

If given plenty of game time through the Euros Daly could really help England progress as the versatile player can be a wing-back and puts in some brilliant challenges & crosses or she can play up front and if she plays anywhere near as good as she does for the Houston Dash we could see her get a few goals throughout the competition. If her performance in the friendly against Belgium is anything to go by we are definitely in for a treat when Daly is on the pitch.

By Lucy Fuller

Athenea Del Castillo – Spain 🇪🇸 

Ahead of the Euros we at Since 71 have been asked to pick out our “players to watch” that perhaps might be flying a little under the radar for some this Euros, or players who we think might have a breakout tournament, and when I got asked that question, there was one player that immediately came to mind. That player was Spain’s young forward talent Athenea Del Castillo. Here is why the young winger from the little village of Solares on the Cantabrian coast on the Bay of Biscay is set to make a big impact.

Athenea Del Castillo Beivide started her career only three years ago at her local club Racing Santander, before moving up to the Primera Liga just down the Spanish coast at La Coruna. In her first few seasons she scored at a rate of nearly a goal a game before coming to the attention of Real Madrid this season, for whom she scored four goals in 17 games. She made her debut for Spain in 2020, but came to the world’s attention properly at the recent Arnold Clark Cup with electrifying displays down the flank, particularly in the game against England when she tormented England’s fullbacks and was the standout player in a team also containing names like Patri Guijarro and Alexia Putellas.

As a player, Athenea is that most exciting of players – a fast, direct winger who loves to run at the opposition and make things happen. She’s not tall at 5’3, but that low centre of gravity means she has incredible balance and pace and can switch directions quickly. Highlights of her are relatively sparse, but here is a fine five minutes of her displaying her talent.

As you can see, she is a player who only has one gear – and that is top gear. Whenever she receives the ball she’s looking to run or progress the ball forward and make things happen – a trait that is vital in a winger. Her confidence and speed on the ball oozes through the screen, and in a Spanish team that doesn’t really have an out-and-out striker with the loss of Jenni Hermoso, she is a driving force going forward.

The football world is massively excited over Lauren Hemp, and del Castillo is basically Lauren Hemp with a Spanish accent and several years younger, but with that same drive and laser focus to torment opposition defenders. If she’s given the chance, she can do that on the biggest stage at the women’s Euros.

By Paul Windsor