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Euros - Football: England v Austria preview

UEFA Women's Euro 2022 gets under way on Wednesday with hosts England facing Austria in the tournament opener at Old Trafford in Manchester.

Expectations are high that England can go all the way on home soil this summer after near misses at their last three major international tournaments.

The Lionesses should certainly have no problem emerging from Group A, although they cannot afford to underestimate an Austria side who defied the odds to reach the semi-finals of the Euros on their tournament debut back in 2017.


England v Austria, Women's Euro 2022 Group A


Old Trafford, Manchester


20:00, Wednesday 6th July 2022

How to watch

BBC1 and BBC iPlayer

OddsEngland Women 1/6, Austria Women 11/1, Draw 11/2

England flying under Wiegman

There is certainly a feel-good factor surrounding England and head coach Sarina Wiegman has to take a lot of the credit, as the Lionesses are unbeaten in 14 matches since the Dutchwoman took charge last year, with 12 of those games ending in victory.

That sequence also includes an ongoing six-match winning run, with pre-tournament victories over Belgium, defending champions the Netherlands and Switzerland catching the eye.

It is therefore no surprise that England are among the favourites at 9/2 to win what would be their first major international title in the women's game.

One of England's main strengths is the amount of goals within the squad, with the team having collectively scored 30 across their last six fixtures.

Record goalscorer Ellen White epitomises that and she is 8/15 to add to the 50 goals she has already scored for her country against Austria, although it is Beth Mead - 11/10 to score on Wednesday - who has netted the most goals under Wiegman, with the Arsenal star having found the net 14 times to date.

Can the Lionesses right the wrongs of the past?

England have been the nearly team of recent major international tournaments in the women's game, as they have been eliminated at the semi-final stage of the last two World Cups, as well as the Euros in 2017.

It was Wiegman's Netherlands side who dispatched England from the Euros five years ago on their way to clinching the title, which makes the Lionesses' 5-1 pre-tournament victory over Oranje all the more impressive.

Players such as Lucy Bronze, Jill Scott, Alex Greenwood and White have been part of those past near misses for England and they will be determined to lead the class of 2022 all the way this year.

Group A shouldn't hold too many fears for England, who are priced at 2/5 to top the standings ahead of Austria, as well as Northern Ireland and an Ada Hegerberg-inspired Norway.

Austria should not be underestimated

England are heavily favoured to open the tournament with a victory and it is easy to see why given their impressive recent form, while they have won all seven of their previous meetings with Austria, including a 1-0 success in World Cup qualifying last November.

That being said, Austria are a team who can rise to the occasion, as they proved at the Euros in 2017 when they topped their group ahead of France, before disposing of Spain in the quarter-finals.

Only a penalty shootout defeat to Denmark in the last four denied Austria a place in the final of that competition, while they also impressed during qualifying for these finals, losing just once in eight games.

That all suggests it may not be as easy for England as many may expect at Old Trafford, especially when you consider the hosts have been slow to get started over recent months, with only two of their last 17 goals coming in the first half of matches.

The Draw-England half time/full time could therefore be a tempting option at 11/4.

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Attacking approach for hosts

England are expected to adopt an attacking line-up for Wednesday's contest, with White likely to lead the line, while Mead and the impressive Lauren Hemp will play either side of the Manchester City striker.

Arsenal midfielder Leah Williamson will captain the team at the finals and is expected to start in the heart of the midfield, while Bronze has shaken off a knock and should take her place at right-back.

Austria's line-up will boast some familiar faces, with Arsenal duo Manuela Zinsberger and Laura Wienroither set to start, as should captain Viktoria Schnaderbeck, who was recently released by the Gunners.

Hoffenheim's Nicole Billa is likely to be the main source of goals for Irene Fuhrmann's side, she netted 12 for her club in the season just gone and is priced at 4/1 to get on the scoresheet on Wednesday.

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