Tournament football is back!
With the domestic season and a pitiful men’s international break over, our attentions turn to the Women’s European Championships hosted on English soil in July. It is sure to get those who remember it, to reflect on the summer of 96 when the nation fell in love with football again and last year’s men’s Euros.
As one of the favourites, Sarina Wiegman’s side will be hoping to go one better than their male counterparts by lifting the trophy at Wembley. Northern Ireland, incidentally in England’s group, will fancy themselves if they are able to get through a difficult group.
So, let’s look at some of the goalkeepers to watch ahead of the Championships next month.
Mary Earps - England
Manchester United’s Mary Earps has been Sarina Wiegman’s number 1 since taking charge of the Lionesses. She started the opening warm-up game against Belgium and is likely to do the same in the inaugural match of the tournament against Austria.
With 17 caps since her first start in 2017, Earps has not been a constant in the England goal and does face competition from Hannah Hampton and Ellie Roebuck.
However, Wiegman clearly favours and trusts the United stopper, who has conceded just once in her last five starts for the national side.
England are very well stocked in the goalkeeping department, so you’re not likely to see Wiegman’s side give away much!
Sandra Panos - Spain
It’s no surprise that Spain are the also one of the favourites for the competition given the number of Barcelona players in their squad. The Catalan giants are the second-best women’s team in Europe and their custodian goalkeeper is Sandra Panos, who has also been a Spain international for over a decade.
Spain haven’t conceded a single goal in their five World Cup Qualifiers so far and have let in just 1 in their past 15 games! Panos and co will not give much away and despite not having a major honour to their name, are in with a shout.
Sari Van Veendenaal - Netherlands
The Netherlands won the 2017 instalment on home soil and despite their relatively spotty form of late, will be determined to retain their title.
Sari Van Veendenaal played every game in their European Championships campaign on their way to winning the trophy and is likely to do so when they kick off their tournament against world number 4 Sweden at Bramall Lane.
The PSV stopper has 85 caps to her name and that experience could be crucial in the latter stages of the tournament.
Pauline Peyraud-Magnin - France
The recent Tornoi de France winners… France, are another one of the favourites for Euro 2022.
Pauline Peyraud-Magnin is the experienced number one who is likely to start their opening match against Italy, where she plays her club football for Juventus.
Given the dominance of Lyon in Europe, France are well fancied to make the latter stages, despite never getting past the Quarter Finals.
This is largely down to winning 12 games on the bounce, including against the likes of Brazil, Germany and Netherlands, demonstrating their ability to beat the very best in the international women’s game.