The Women’s Euro has yet to disappoint — there have been standout performances (one unfortunately against the Italian team), a country thought sure to advance crashed out in the group stage (Norway!), record attendances at the games, and 78 goals scored with 3.25 goals on average per match.
Now that the dust has settled from the group stage and Italy has been eliminated from the tournament with its loss to Belgium, there are only a few Juventus Women players left across several teams that are heading into the quarterfinals, which get underway Wednesday night.
Here is a rundown of the teams that did and did not advance and how Juve players have looked so far.
Teams with Juve Women players that are through to the quarterfinals
Sweden (Group C winners)
Sweden grew into the group stage, starting with a draw against Netherlands — where they couldn’t capitalize on a young, inexperienced goalkeeper coming in after the Dutch starter was injured — to a close 2-1 win over the Swiss, and then crushing Portugal 5-0 in their third game which gave them the 6 to 4 goal difference in advantage over the Netherlands to top Group C.
Three Juventus Women players are on the Swede’s roster at this tournament. Lina Hurtig has had the most minutes, playing in the center and right side of the attack, and although she has not scored any goals yet, she provided Sweden with some decent on- and off-the-ball play in the group stage.
Linda Sembrant didn’t see much action for Sweden, only coming into the central defense in the second half of the last game against Portugal. Fullback Amanda Nildén hasn’t seen any minutes yet (and might not given the experienced players Sweden has on its back line).
Sweden faces Belgium in their quarterfinal game on Friday, July 22, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Hurtig could possibly start and may end up doing what her Juve teammates on the Italian team could not — score against Belgium. I predict Sweden winning that game with ease.
Netherlands (Group C runners up)
The Netherlands, the reigning Euro champion, looked a little shaky in their first two games of the tournament, but were able to push through even without their star player Vivianne Miedema, who was out with COVID-19 for the last two games. Miedema’s absence likely gave new Juventus Women player Lineth Beerensteyn the chance to start up top in the Netherlands’ games against Portugal and Switzerland. I am excited about Beerensteyn coming to Juve — she is a dynamic player and has great awareness of the game. Similar to Hurtig, she has not scored yet in the tournament but has had some good on and off the ball play.
The Netherlands are set to take on France in their quarterfinal match on Saturday, July 23, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. This will be a challenging game for the Netherlands, and they will have to be alert to the fast pace and driving force of the French team. However, after France lost their star player Marie-Antoinette Katoto, the French seem a bit more playable; so it is hard to say for sure which team will come up on top of this quarterfinal.
France (Group D winners)
Fans of both Juventus Women and the Italian women’s national team will have conflicting emotions about French goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin. Obviously, for Juventus, she is great in goal and I am very happy she came to Turin last summer. But it was not so great to see Peyraud-Magnin make that save against Barbara Bonansea at the beginning of the Italy-France game (before France went on their scoring rampage).
Peyraud-Magnin has had a pretty good tournament so far, only allowing three goals, two of which were not exactly stoppable and the third a penalty that was really well taken.
As mentioned above, France will play the Netherlands on Saturday, July 23, at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. I foresee Peyraud-Magnin and the French team advancing to the semifinals where they will most likely face Germany, who I think will sail through their quarterfinal versus Austria. A France versus Germany semifinal will be a great game to watch!
And now the teams with Juve players that out of the Women’s Euro 2022 tournament …
Italy (Group D last place)
It is painful to write this, but this just wasn’t Italy’s tournament from start to finish, and they just couldn’t do enough against Iceland or Belgium after their heavy 5-1 defeat by France.
So, once again as in 2017, the Azzurre have gone out in the group stage. I would put part of the blame on the manager’s decisions, and part on injuries (Sara Gama), COVID (Valentina Cernoia), and some bad luck (20 shots, five on goal — including Cristiana Girelli’s that hit the crossbar — against a Belgium side that had two shots on goal and won 1-0).
Scoring just two goals in three games just isn’t good enough. I would be surprised if Melina Bertolini doesn’t get heavy criticism, but one has to wonder with the 2023 Women’s World Cup coming up (and games left to play to qualify for that world cup) that she will keep her position.
Starting in defense, Gama started the matches against France and Iceland, but went out in the 58th minute in the latter game dealing with the thigh issue, and was on the bench for the entirety of the Belgium match. Gama did not have a good tournament, perhaps because of the injury (Italian lesson of the day — thigh is coscia in Italian). Lisa Boattin started all games and played every minute, but although coming off a great season with Juventus, did not her play very best. Martina Lenzini did not get any minutes in the tournament.
In the midfield, Arianna Caruso was mediocre at best in her start against France and played OK off the bench in the other two games. Martina Rosucci was a difference maker in the France game, bringing a more structured, calm look to the midfield, which likely earned her the start in the next two games. It was really unfortunate that Cernoia was out first by injury and then Covid for the France and Iceland matches. When she finally was able to make an appearance in the 80 minute of the last game against Belgium, you could immediately see the difference having her on the field makes for Italy. I think if she had been healthy the whole tournament, Italy would be heading to the quarterfinals.
Up top, Bonansea and Girelli didn’t see much of the ball in the first game versus France, and then were surprisingly left off the starting roster in the second game against Iceland, but they did come in at/just after halftime and got things going in that game, in particular Bonansea. Agnese Bonfantini finally made her debut in the tournament in the last 45 minutes of the Belgium game and provided a spark in offense in her first 10 minutes or so, but then seemed not quite at game speed at times (although this might have been the fact that she hadn’t gotten any minutes until then and still had some first game jitters to get out).
Denmark (Group B third place)
Denmark’s counterattack could not find success in the 1-0 loss to Spain in their must-win third game of the group stage, so they have exited the tournament. Juve’s Sofie Junge Pedersen started and played every minute of Denmark’s three games in the midfield. It was always going to be difficult for Denmark to make it to the quarterfinals, given their opposition included Germany and Spain, but they showed some promising form and bow out with a third place finish in the group.
Across the pond in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship
This doesn’t have anything to do with the Women’s Euro quarterfinals, but I wanted to give a shout out to Canadian Juventus Women’s Julia Grosso, who scored a brace in her first appearance for the Canadian national team in the tournament in their opening game against Trinidad and Tobago, and then found the net again to score Canada’s sole goal against Panama in the group stage of the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. She also came into the final game against the United States, but she had less of an impact in that game and Canada lost 1-0 to the USWNT.
This tournament determines the world cup qualifiers in CONCACAF as well as potential spots for Olympics 2024 in Paris. Grosso and her Canadian team qualified for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup by making it to the semifinals, and will be playing Jamaica in a playoff for the Olympics in September 2023.