The UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 – though not as ‘prestigious’ as the men’s tournament that Spain eventually ran away as victors of in 2012 – kicked off (pun intended) 10 July in the host country of Sweden. As explained on the UEFA website, the top two teams (out of four) from each of the three groups will advance to the Quarterfinals and so on.
Group A consists of hosts Sweden, Italy, Denmark, and Finland; Group B includes Germany, Norway, Netherlands, and Iceland; and Group C rounds out the teams of the tournament with France, England, Russia, and Spain.
The Women’s Euro tournament – sponsored by some big names such as Adidas, Carlsberg, Coca-Cola, and Hyundai – runs through the end of July, with the final scheduled for Sunday, 28 July.
Germany, Sweden, and France come in as the 1, 2, and 3 top-ranked teams, respectively, with England, Norway, and Italy rounding out the top 6. Additionally, the German Women’s National Team is the number one seed for a reason: they play to win, as evidenced by their 3-3 draw in Germany against the USWNT (the best team in the world – that said with no bias but from truth – shown by the FIFA Women’s World Rankings from June 2013) in April 2013.
Though France comes in as the 3rd seeded team, that might still strike fear into the hearts of those in Group C as every woman on the France Women’s National Football Team plays for one of the (offshoot) women’s football teams of Ligue 1 including PSG, Lyon (where USWNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe signed a six-month contract in January 2013 and joined with Seattle Reign FC of the NWSL in July), Montpellier, and Saint-Etienne, as well as the FCF (Football Club Feminin) Juvisy.
As usual tournaments go, there is normally a ‘Group of Death.’ One that is spoken of in hushed tones, only to be deciphered and picked apart by analysts and pundits until the day of reckoning – that is: game day. In my most humble opinion – and realizing that any of the three groups really is a group of death – I believe that Group C has the most chances to surprise viewers and fans. England, France, Russia, and Spain usually have pretty consistent and sturdy male sides, and with the women’s teams, well, the saying, ‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,’ seems to be a true statement.
Regardless of not having the biggest names in football on the pitch for the Women’s Euro (Abby Wambach and Alex Morgan play for the US, Marta for Brazil, and Homare Sawa for Japan), it will be entertaining and bring more clout and prestige to the women’s game in Europe.