On the programme: England-Spain (9 p.m.)
After having had a good time during the group stage (fourteen goals scored, zero against) of their European Championship at home, England will face Spain in the first quarter-final of the competition on Wednesday 20 July in Brighton and Hove.
Will the Spaniards, second in Group B behind Germany, be able to stop the steamroller controlled by Sarina Wiegman, the Dutch coach of the English since 2020? On paper, the match looks like a fight between David and Goliath. Orphaned by its star player and Ballon d’or 2021, Alexia Putellas, injured just before the match, La Roja will have to rely on its collective strength, which draws it from the ranks of FC Barcelona, unfortunately finalist of the Champions League against Lyon (3-1), to reverse the predictions.
The Lionesses have continued to confirm their status as favorites throughout the European Championship, especially after their recital during the 2e day of the first round against Norway by Ada Hegerberg (8-0). The English are now on a run of seventeen games without a defeat (fifteen wins, two draws). Semi-finalists in 2017, the captain, Leah Williamson, and her teammates plan to climb the top step of the podium at home. The Spaniards have been warned.
Euro Star: Beth Mead, “The Furious”
With five goals in three games, including a hat-trick against Norway, Beth Mead is establishing himself as the star of this start to the European Championship. Current top scorer in the league, England’s number 7 has managed to channel her temperament to play her best football today. The Arsenal striker, who comes from an exceptional season with thirty-three goals or assists, was not selected for the Olympic Games in Tokyo a year ago. She had retained much bitterness. The fault of a little too much football “Aggressive”she was blamed. But Beth Mead has always had a volcanic temper, ever since her first appearances in a boys-only club in her native Yorkshire.
Today, at the age of 27, the one who nicknames her teammates “Angry Meado” (“Meado the Enraged”) recognizes it: “I play my best football when I’m angry.” The arrival of Sarina Wiegman at the head of the selection in 2020 has helped her to channel her energy. Since the Dutchman has been on the English bench, Beth Mead – forty-one caps since 2018 – has scored eighteen times in sixteen games.
“She shoots and the ball goes between the posts and under the bar”the coach joked, in response to a journalist who asked him after the game against Norway why Mead scored so many goals. “Beth is really very determined for the goal. Much more than most other players”added, more seriously, Wiegman.
“If the results don’t live up to expectations, divorce is the natural solution”
It is with these few words that Martin Sjögren, the coach of the Norwegian team, announced on Tuesday that, by mutual agreement with the Norwegian Football Association, he is shortening his contract, which ran until August 2023. The 1-year-old Swede failed to get Norway through the group stage, while the goal was to grab a medal.
“We are all disappointed with the performance at the European Championships this summer”, said Federation president Lise Klaveness. While she assured that she would not point to individual responsibilities, she recalled that the extension of the coach’s (and his assistant, Anders Jacobson’s) contract until the 2023 World Cup came with a requirement for recovery results. Norway had already been eliminated at the end of the first round at Euro 2017, before failing to reach the quarter-finals at the 2019 World Cup.
Piece of blue sky: breaking the curse of quarters
“You’ve been telling us for years: we stop at the quarters, we stop at the quarters, we stop at the quarters… So it is inevitable that we will be entitled to that in the coming days. » It is an understatement to say that Wendie Renard, the captain of the French national team, was annoyed on Monday night after the draw against Iceland (1-1) and when discussing the next meeting against the Netherlands on Saturday 23 July.
But the facts are there, cruel: Since the 2012 Olympics, the Blues have failed to progress beyond the quarterfinals in any international competition (Euro, World Cup, Olympics). “I don’t think we should focus on the quarter-finals. Me, I’m focusing on the team we’re about to meet. A new competition is about to begin.”assured Wendie Renard. “New league, new group, different players…”, also waved off coach Corinne Deacon, adding: “No interest in repeating the past, especially if it’s not right. »