Arguably the biggest and most anticipated tournament to ever grace the world of women’s football is upon us. Come Wednesday, the Women’s European Championships will commence upon England, with some of the most famous grounds in the men’s game seeing some of the best women’s footballers in the game today taking over for the next three weeks.
Sixteen of those players who will be taking the field for the Euros over the next few weeks just so happen to be employed by Juventus Women.
As was the case when the Women’s World Cup took place three years ago, the vast majority of Juve’s representation will be on Italy’s roster, with the Bianconere occupying nine spots on the Azzurre squad. But it’s not just the Italian women that we will be keeping an eye on during this tournament that had to be delayed 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seven other Juventus Women players stretched over five different national teams will try to make these Euros a memorable one. Some of those names are familiar and long-standing players in Turin, while others are brand new signings that will feature for their national teams before playing for their new clubs.
All in all, a Euros in which Juventus Women will be well-represented should prove to be one heck of an exciting three-plus weeks around England.
Juve doesn’t have a player on each one of the 16 teams at this summer’s tournament, but they’ve got a nice amount of players there even outside of the big number representing Italy.
What countries are Juventus Women players representing in England? Let’s take a look.
(Please note: Players and countries will be listed by who plays their opening group stage game first, thus making it easier to figure out how the group stage will go.)
Group A: England, Norway, Austria, Northern Ireland
If you’re looking for an Juve players taking part in the opening day of the tournament, well ... you’re out of luck. However, if you want to see one of the tournament favorites try to live up to the massive amount of hype they’re getting as they get set to play on their home turf, then you’re in the right place.
England is very much getting both the home hype treatment as well as some deserved praise heading into its tournament opener against Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday night. If there ever was a tournament in which the England women come in with plenty of wind in its sails, it’s this one.
Plus, knowing that Juventus Women manager Joe Montemurro used to coach at Arsenal before moving to Turin last summer and has a good number of former players on the England roster, I’m guessing the Australia-born boss man is going to have a large amount of interest in what happens in this group.
Group B: Germany, Spain, Denmark, Finland
Group B has more Juve representation than Group A does, but it’s not by much. And that’s even after one of the original members of the Juventus Women roster, Finland fullback Tuija Hyyrynen, announced that she was leaving the club at the end of the 2021-22 season.
The player that could very well take over for Hyyrynen on the right side of Juventus’ defense next season, Matilde Lundorf, was on Denmark’s provisional roster but didn’t make the final cut — which, as you probably can guess, wasn’t exactly something that was greeted with all that much happiness and cheer.
That leaves just one Juve player in Group B: Sofie Junge Pedersen.
Pedersen has been a consistent starter for the Juve women ever since she arrived midway through the 2018-19 season. While Pedersen would likely tell you she’s far from an offensive-minded midfielder, she’s scored some of the biggest goals in Juventus Women’s short yet accomplished history, including the game-winning header against Fiorentina in the Bianconere’s first-ever game at Allianz Stadium.
And when looking at this group, Pedersen and the rest of the Danes are certainly in for a battle with Germany and all of their previous Euro wins and Spain’s Barcelona-centric core both looking to make the race for the two spots in the quarterfinals a three-horse race. (Although, Spain was handed a major blow on the eve of the tournament beginning when midfielder Aliexia Putellas, the reigning Ballon d’Or Féminin winner, suffered a torn ACL In training.)
Friday, July 8: Germany vs. Denmark, 9 p.m. CET
Tuesday, July 12: Denmark vs. Finland, 6 p.m. CET
Saturday, July 16: Denmark vs. Spain, 9 p.m. CET
Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Portugal
You wanna talk about another one of the favorites at the Women’s Euros? OK, let’s do it.
And this time, we get to talk about there being some Juventus representation amongst said tournament favorite, too.
Sweden is most definitely one of the favorites to win the whole thing — and rightfully so. They are the Olympic silver medalists from the Tokyo Games, of course, and they’ve brought pretty much the same band to England as they had last summer. It just so happened that it was another Juve player — although she wasn’t one at the time — that scored the game-winning penalty in Julia Grosso that gave Canada gold, so there’s probably some unfinished business feelings entering another major tournament.
Out of those three smiling Swedes above, the most experienced of the group is likely the only sure-thing starter on a team full of really, really good players. It will definitely be a nice comeback moment of sorts for Linda Sembrant, who had to miss the Olympics because she tore her ACL late in the 2020-21 season. She is back to help lead the Swedes’ backline and is one of their most experienced players.
Lina Hurtig, coming off a solid second season in Turin after establishing herself in the starting lineup midway through the 2020-21 campaign, is part of Sweden’s deep attacking group, while Amanda Nilden — who is fresh off her first season with Juve — will be an option off the bench in defense.
There’s also some new Juve blood to keep an eye on in the form of Dutch forward Lineth Beerensteyn, who signed with Juventus Women on June 21 after spending the last five seasons with Bayern Munich. The 25-year-old Beerensteyn, who will be the first-ever Dutch player for the Bianconere, will likely be an option off the bench with the Netherlands possessing some of the best attacking talent in all of the world.
Saturday, July 9: Netherlands vs. Sweden, 9 p.m. CET
Wednesday, July 13: Sweden vs. Switzerland, 6 p.m. CET
Wednesday, July 13: Netherlands vs. Portugal, 9 p.m. CET
Sunday, July 17: Sweden vs. Portugal, 6 p.m. CET
Sunday, July 17: Switzerland vs. Netherlands, 6 p.m. CET
Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland
You want a group in which you will get Juventus Women teammates playing against each other pretty much every time Group D teams take the field? Here you go, folks.
The Italy women are obviously where the most interest will be because of how many Juve players are on the Azzurre’s roster. Just like when Italy made its surprising run to the Women’s World Cup quarterfinals in 2019, it’s a pretty good bet that at least half of the starting lineup veteran Milena Bertolini — who has been rumored to potentially step aside after the tournament — will be Juve players.
That’s just what happens when you’ve got nine players on the Italy roster.
As long as she’s healthy, Sara Gama will captain the Italy women as she’s done over 100 times before the Euros. Lisa Boattin, at left back, is coming off a 2021-22 season in which she was named the Serie A Femminile player of the year and just seems to be brimming with confidence with each chance she gets to impress. In midfield, Arianna Caruso has a very legitimate chance to be a breakout candidate after another solid season, while Martina Rosucci and Valentina Cernoia are also players who give Bertolini options in terms of how she wants to approach each opponent.
Of course, it doesn’t stop there. Cristiana Girelli and Barbara Bonansea, the backbone of Juve’s attack over the last four years, will again lead the Italy forward line as they did during the Women’s World Cup three years ago. Neither player is coming off a club season in which they racked up goals like in previous years, but they are still very much crucial parts of Italy’s attack and will be looked upon to carry the load offensively along with Valentina Giacinti. Winger Agnese Bonfantini, fresh off closing her first season with Juve in fine form, could be a wild card off the bench for Italy.
And who will they be trying to score on in their first group stage game?
That would be Pauline Peyraud-Magnin, who will be looking to keep the likes of Girelli, Bonansea and others quiet will manning the France goal. And while as much as PPM is pure entertainment value in goal, the drama within France’s squad — especially when it comes to the person filling out the starting lineup — is almost as interesting and worth keeping an eye on as anything going. There’s no doubting the France women are one of the most talented group in the entire Women’s Euros field, but they could prove to be their own worst enemy with everything going on surrounding them.
Then there’s the added bonus of getting a glimpse of Iceland midfielder Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, who signed with Juventus Women on June 24. Gunnarsdóttir, who won the Women’s Champions League with Lyon at the J Stadium in Turin in the spring, has been working her way back to her previous impressive levels after giving birth to a baby boy in November. A difference maker in the midfield, if Gunnarsdóttir has a strong showing at the Euros, it will certainly bode well for her first few months with Montemurro and Co. in Turin.
Sunday, July 10: Belgium vs. Iceland, 6 p.m. CET
Sunday, July 10: France vs. Italy, 9 p.m. CET
Thursday, July 14: Italy vs. Iceland, 6 p.m. CET
Thursday July 14: France vs. Belgium, 9 p.m. CET
Monday, July 18: Italy vs. Belgium, 9 p.m. CET
Monday, July 18: Iceland vs. France, 9 p.m. CET