Teams from 12 nations will contest the UEFA Women’s Euro 2013, among them Hope Powell‘s England who will be hoping to put a smile back on the country’s football fans after a traumatic month which has seen both the men’s U21 and U20 sides crash out of major competitions in the group stages without winning a match. The latest FIFA rankings have also seen the senior side drop six places to 15th, their lowest ranking for four years. So have England got what it takes to progress to the quarter-finals from a section which also includes France, Spain and Russia?
England are a best 9/4 with bet365 to win Group C but the French are favourites (19/20 to betway). A recent 1-0 friendly victory over Norway showed that Bruno Bini‘s girls are in good nick and they’ll offer a goal threat from midfield behind lead strikers Eugenie Le Sommer and Marie-Laure Delie. The French have never been beyond the quarter-finals in the European Championships before but have definitely improved over the last couple of years and are just 4/1 (Betfred and Skybet) to win the tournament behind favourites Germany.
The Germans are a best 33/20 with betway and are the top-ranked team in the competition. Unsurprising, really, as they’ve won all five previous stagings of the tournament. However, coach Silvia Neid has been robbed of half-a-dozen of her best players through injury including Alexandra Popp and Martina Muller, who scored 15 goals between them in qualifying. The prolific Celia Okoyino da Mbabi will lead the German line, however, while teams will again find it hard to get the ball past Nadine Angerer. Germany are just 3/10 with bet365 and Paddy Power to win Group B.
But if any team is going to end German domination this year, it might be Sweden. This year’s hosts, twice finalists and beaten semi-finalists on two other occasions, are strongly fancied to end up with top honours this time. They should waltz through Group A against Italy, Denmark and Finland so bwin‘s 11/13 for them to win the section is way too big. World Cup semi-finalists two years ago, the Swedes have been turned into a major force in women’s football by former US coach Pia Sundhage and, led by Olympique Lyonnaise star Lotta Schelin, can make the most of home advantage to win Euro 2013 at the general 9/2.