UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 is due to get underway on Wednesday, with the continent’s best players set to gather in England for what promises to be a feast of football.
A total of 31 matches will be played across 26 days, but only one of the 16 teams that have qualified for the finals will be crowned champions following the conclusion of the final at Wembley on July 31.
We have taken a look at five of the best players that could light up the tournament and potentially lead their team to glory.
Lucy Bronze – England
England are expected to go far in this tournament on home soil and experienced full-back Lucy Bronze could be key to those chances.
The 30-year-old, who has already agreed to join Barcelona from Manchester City this summer, knows all about performing on the biggest stage as she was named in the team of the tournament at both the 2015 World Cup and Euros in 2017 – both competitions saw England exit at the semi-final stage.
Bronze then picked up the silver ball for being the tournament’s second best player at the 2019 World Cup (again as England lost out in the semi-finals), while she was named the Best FIFA Women’s Player in 2020.
Injuries have disrupted Bronze’s progress in recent times, but after netting in the Lionesses’ pre-tournament thrashing of the Netherlands, she could now be ready to flourish on the international stage once again.
Alexia Putellas – Spain
Spain have never progressed beyond the semi-finals of a major international women’s tournament, but they have a great chance of doing so this year, especially as they will be spearheaded by attacking midfielder Alexia Putellas.
Putellas is a key member of the Barcelona team that have won numerous honours both domestically and in Europe over recent seasons and she will have many of her clubmates surrounding her at the Euros.
The 28-year-old is entering her peak years and she comes into the tournament having finished as the top scorer in last season’s Champions League.
She is also the reigning Ballon d’Or Feminin and she may well retain that title if she can steer Spain to European glory this summer.
Ada Hegerberg – Norway
Ada Hegerberg is one of the most known names in women’s football and the 26-year-old will be back on the international stage this summer with Norway after a self-imposed five-year absence.
The forward stopped playing international football in 2017 in protest against the way the Norwegian federation treated the women’s team and she only returned to the fold earlier this year.
Hegerberg, who burst onto the international stage as a teenager at the 2013 Euros, has also had to overcome a serious knee injury that kept her sidelined for the best part of two years.
However, any doubts regarding her fitness were put to bed as she led Lyon to an eighth Champions League title this season – she will now be hoping to replicate those heroics with Norway.
Vivianne Miedema – Netherlands
Netherlands striker Vivianne Miedema is one of the most potent goalscorers in world football, as she has netted 94 goals in 111 appearances for her country, including four during their European Championship success of 2017.
Miedema has revealed these Euros will almost feel like a home tournament as she has spent the last five years banging in the goals for Arsenal, so much so that she is the all-time leading scorer in the Women’s Super League.
Still only 25, Miedema recently signed a new contract with Arsenal after turning down reported interest from Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, she’ll be hoping to celebrate that new deal by landing another European Championship winners medal this summer.
Fridolina Rolfo – Sweden
Many people are considering Sweden dark horses to go on and claim European Championship glory, with winger turned full-back Fridolina Rolfo likely to be a key figure if the Blue and Yellow are to go all the way.
Rolfo starred as Sweden claimed silver at last summer’s Olympics, scoring three goals in five matches, while she helped Barcelona to two titles in the season just gone after joining the Spanish giants from Wolfsburg last summer.
It is at Barca where the 28-year-old has been transformed from a winger into a full-back, but expect to see her in her more attacking role for Sweden where she could have a major impact.