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How we think the groups will look at the end of the stage

It is Euros time and it is safe to say we are excited here at Edge of the Area. The next few weeks are going to be filled with plenty of football which has certainly been missed in this off season, I can see most evenings involving us glued to the TV screen to see who is picking up those much needed points to progress out of the group stages of the competition. It is safe to say each group should be entertaining with a lot of groups being too close to call due to the talent each team has however, at the end of the day only two teams from each group can progress and here is our prediction of how the groups are going to look after the group stage games have been played...

Group A 

England 

Norway

Austria

Northern Ireland

You would really like to think that the hosts England were going to walk away the winners of this group but it is football so you never really know what could happen. With England's recent performances though we can't help but think they will top this group to progress to the quarter finals. With the quality of the Norway squad I think they will be the team progressing along with England but you never know Austria or Northern Ireland could surprise us all but on paper it should be England and Norway progressing. It would be nice to see Northern Ireland progress in their first Euros but I think the group might be too strong for them. 

Group B

Spain 

Germany 

Denmark

Finland

This group is could very easily be too close to call. There are some fantastic teams in this group with some brilliant talent available for selection so it really could go any way. Unfortunately I think the rest of the group could be a bit too strong for Finland but who knows they could surprise us. In terms of at the top of the group I have said recently how I think Spain are going to pull off a surprise during the competition and I am really hoping to see them top the group. In terms of who is going to progress with them I think it is going to be a very close call between Germany and Denmark but I think Germany could just beat Denmark to the second spot. Denmark have a pretty strong looking team but so do Germany. This second spot could very easily come down to the final game of the group stage but we are in for a treat watching this group. 

Group C

Sweden 

Netherlands

Switzerland

Portugal

With group C being help up north of course we had to get tickets to what is going to be the game of the group, the Netherlands vs Sweden, this game is bound to be the one where the winner ends up topping the group but I can see it being a fantastic game to watch. This group the top two spots are pretty hard to call but I think Sweden's recent performances will really help them and they will progress as winners of the group. I can see the Netherlands beating Switzerland to the second place spot if they play like the Netherlands we are used to seeing but they are going to have to play much better than they did against England the other week if they want this to be the case. Portugal have had much less time to prepare after it took UEFA so long to say if Russia were being replaced or not so I think that lack of preparation is going to leave them at the bottom of the group. 

Group D

France

Belgium 

Iceland

Italy

Group D is the group that I am really not sure about, I would love to see France topping this group. They are without some big name players due to things going on behind the scenes but with the talent that country has I think we could see them progressing as winners of the group. Now I don't know much about the Italian team so for that reason alone I am placing them at the bottom of the group but I am looking forward to watching them play throughout their time in the competition and learn more about them as it goes on. I have placed Belgium as second in this group just because I like watching them play and I would love to see them do well during the competition.

So there you go that is how we think the groups are going to be looking once the group stage has ended but as we say with football you never really know way results are going to go on the day. If the teams we have predicted do end up progress I think it is safe to say we are in for a great knock out stage. Now it is time to get lost in a month of football.

Who do you think will progress from each group?

Two teams I think could surprise everyone at the Euros

 


When you look at the teams participating in Euro 2022 I think it is safe to say we could be in for a very close competition this time around. A lot of country names are circulating for who could be walking away the winner but honestly it feels like it is too close to decide and I do believe that there could be some shock results that derail the most talked about favourites and that an underdog (or at least less talked about) team could swoop in and steal the Euro trophy come the 31st July. You just have to look at the strength of the squads participating and the groups they have been put it to see that it really is anyone's chance to shine. For me though there are two tams that haven't been talked about as much as they should as I can see them really pushing for a place in the final and who knows they might just end up winning the whole thing and for me those two teams are...

Spain 

I think that Spain are often an overlooked nation in this tournament but with the improvement we have seen from them over the years I think we could see them be a real threat this time around. I think they really started showing off their capabilities in the 2019 World Cup where we saw some very strong performances from them but since then they just seem to have got better and better. I think we are going to see them be a really strong goal threat and with a lot of people over looking them I think they have nothing to lose so they will go all out in terms of performances to show people they need to beware of what they can do.  They have a lot of players who can make an impact Ona Battle & Maria Leon are just two of the people I will be keeping a close eye on throughout the month plus with Ballon D'or winner Putellas on the team who will play a big part I think we are in for a treat when watching Spain play.

Sweden

Could this tournament finally be the one where we see Sweden take home the winners medals? I have a strong feeling that they could finally go all the way and win the competition after being so close in previous ones. They have some absolutely fantastic players in their squad that are often overlooked at club level due to those around them, they really do have the capability to make a name for themselves going into the new season though. Sweden have looked very good in previous competitions and they played really well in the Olympics just missing out on winning like they did in the 2017 Euros but surely their time has to come soon? The team can move the ball around really well and provide some great attacking threats plus to me their football is just really enjoyable to watch. I enjoy watching Sweden play that much that we have actually got tickets to Netherlands vs Sweden which is bound to be an absolutely brilliant game as it is a replay of the Euro 2017 final. I have to say if I was to put money on my Euro winner it would be going on Sweden this time around, I am even tempted to get a shirt for when we go to the game plus I am just really looking forward to seeing Asllani playing live once again rather than it being on a TV screen. 

As I said earlier I really do think this tournament is going to be one of the closest we have seen in a while and lets hope we get to watch plenty of entertaining football over the course of the month. Maybe one of these two team will end up taking home the trophy but I think there are multiple teams in the running for it, these two just deserve a little bit more recognition as they aren't getting as much as they should be currently.

Who do you think could be an underdog team in these Euros? 

Our thoughts on the England Euro squad


One thing that has been nice since Wiegmans appointment as England manager is that we are finally seeing different players breaking into the squad. For so many years we were just seeing the same players called up no matter what their club performances had been like but now we are seeing choices based on how the players play throughout the season which is just how it should be. This Euro squad announcement has gone to show that this is now the case as we are seeing a nice mix of experience and youth for a change and we know that players are really going to get a chance to prove themselves and make a name for themselves either from being in the starting 11 or even coming on as a substitute. The squad is definitely one with a lot of potential and really does highlight the standard of the English talent at the moment and it is really one that other countries should be looking at and worrying about as this squad has a lot of potential. So here is a look at the squad for the Euros and what we think to each player...

Mary Earps - Earps really stood out to me in the 2021/22 season and I think see has really improved over the past few years. It would be nice to see Earps as the first choice 'keeper as she can certainly bring a lot to the team and if she plays anything she did last season England are in safe hands. 

Lucy Bronze - After all these years I still love watching Lucy Bronze play. She can bring a lot to the team on that right hand side and her surging runs can get England into some dangerous positions and we have seen how she can score herself too, we always seem to see one fantastic goal each tournament from Bronze so lets hope we see at least one if not more this time around. 

Rachel Daly - I don't think it is any secret that my favourite player is Daly, I just love seeing her play and to see her finally getting the recognition she deserves. If people are new to the game or don't follow the NWSL they might not realise just what Daly is capable of but I am really looking forward to seeing her get her name out there this tournament. Playing at the back she is brilliant but as we have seen for the Houston Dash she is a fantastic attacking player too and I am really hoping to see her name on the score sheet. 

Keira Walsh - Walsh is one of those players for me that can seem to hide away in a game but when you look back she makes a much bigger impact on the game than you think. Her spacial awareness and passing ability will really help the team out in the middle of the pitch and I am looking forward to seeing how she does in the Euros. 

Alex Greenwood - Since moving to Man City Greenwood has really started to make an impression on me, at first I wasn't too interested but she seems to be doing really well now at club level. She has had to adapt at club level due to injuries and I think her move to centre back has actually been a positive one as she really helped Man City get the finish they did in the season. I am looking forward to seeing how she does at centre back during the Euros as it looks like that could be where she spends the most of her time. 

Millie Bright -  Bright has really stood out to me in the NWSL for the past few years with her defensive skills. For me she really is a no nonsense old school type of defender who not only is a fantastic defender but can be vital at set pieces too. If she plays like she plays for Chelsea us England fans could be in for a treat.

Beth Mead - I really do believe Mead is a massively underrated player. She often gets overlooked when her crossing ability is brilliant and she can get the team into some fantastic positions on the pitch. It is going to be interesting to see if Mead starts games or is brought on as an impact sub but I really do think the super sub later on in the game could be a real threat to the opposition.

Leah Williamson - Captain Leah, I am so glad that Williamson has got the captaincy for this competition as I think she is the perfect choice for the job. Williamson has really made a name for herself the past few seasons and she is finally getting rewarded for this. I am hoping we see her playing in a defensive midfield role as I think this is best suited to her and her ability to make out the perfect pass but she can also play really well in the centre of defence if needed too. 

Ellen White - White always shows us exactly what she is capable of in tournaments so I am looking forward to seeing how well she does this time around. With competition up front high it is going to be interesting to see how much game time she gets especially after recently getting Covid, let's hope that doesn't have too much of an impact for her and we will see her have yet another good tournament. 

Georgia Stanway - Stanway is a bit of a controversial player but honestly I love her I think her ability on and off the ball is fantastic, let's just hope she can keep card free and not put in any silly challenges as I think she could be crucial in the middle of the pitch. I would love to see her on the score sheet a few times too. I just still don't think I am over her leaving Man City yet either. 

Lauren Hemp - Hemp was one of my favourite players last season for Man City and I think she is a young player with a whole lot of potential. Hemp and Daly on the left could create a fantastic partnership throughout the competition and I think we could see Hemp creating and scoring a few goals throughout the month too.

Jess Carter - It is really nice to see Jess Carter being called up for this tournament as I think it is safe to say it has been a long time coming for her. Carter had a standout season at Chelsea in the 21/22 season and it has helped her really break into the England squad which maybe under old managers she wouldn't have done. I hope she does get plenty of game time in the competition as she definitely deserves it. 

Hannah Hampton - To say how young Hampton is she is already showing the potential to be an absolutely fantastic 'keeper. It would be great to see Hampton get some game time but with Earps being in the squad I am not too sure how much time she will get if any but even having her as an option on the bench is great and it will give her some big tournament experience, it certainly won't be the last we see of her in England tournaments if her career keeps going the way it is.

Fran Kirby - Kirby has had her health problems lately but it is great to see her being called up once again as the past few seasons she has really shown us what she is capable of and she has cemented her place in the Chelsea squad. If we can keep Kirby fit and use her correctly I think we could end up seeing her making a big impact on the results.

Demi Stokes -  I honestly aren't sure about how much time Stokes is going to have on the pitch as I think the left back spot is surely going to go to Daly as long as she is fit. But having a player with the capabilities of Stokes as back up isn't half bad. It would be nice to see Stokes on the pitch but honestly I am not sure how much we will see.

Jill Scott - Now I am very glad to see Scott get called up for this tournament as I think her past experience could really come in handy plus she really is a character which will help behind the scenes too. Scott might not get as many minutes as I would hope but those minutes she does get will be great to watch and she will definitely be a huge asset to the team.

Nikita Parris - With the quality of attacking players we have to offer this tournament I think playing minutes for Parris could be in short supply. Now don't get me wrong Parris is a good player but there are youngsters who have performed well consistently who might get the game time over her but if she does get on the field I think her experience could come in very handy.

Chloe Kelly - I am so glad that Chloe Kelly has managed to recover from her injury in time to feature in this competition. I am excited to see how she performs in the Euros as I think she could really benefit this team in the long run with her pace, skill and overall footballing ability. She did well on her return for Man City so lets hope we see some more great performances in the England shirt this summer.

Beth England - England is a player that has really grown on me these past few seasons and I think it is safe to say she is really starting to make a name for herself in the game. I am hoping we see plenty of England in the tournament as she is going to be a fantastic attacking asset but again she is up against some strong competition for game time so let's just hope she does get plenty of chance to prove herself.

Ella Toone - Toone is one of the best young players out there for me at the moment. Since joining Man Utd she just seems to be getting better and better. I am really hoping to see her get her name on the score sheet a fair few times throughout the competition and I really think she is going to end up being a player that a lot of people have their eyes on for years to come.

Ellie Roebuck - I am glad to see Roebuck's name in the squad but again I don't know how much of her we are going to see in the competition, I honestly think the only time we would see her is if England have the group wrapped up or if Earps gets injured (fingers crossed she doesn't). Roebuck spent a lot of last season injured and I think if that wasn't the case she might have ended up as number one but at the end of the day as a Man City fan I just want her to return to next season fully fit.

Lotte Wubben-Moy - I managed to watch a bit more of Arsenal last season and Wubben-Moy really caught my attention. At just 23 years old I think we are still to see just what she is capable of but her development lately has been fantastic so I am excited to see just how good she is going to be a few more years down the line. Again I aren't too sure that we are going to see loads of minutes for Wubben-Moy but I think just being at the tournament will be a great experience and help her prepare for possible future tournaments.

Alessia Russo - I know I have said a few times in this post that a few young players have stood out to me in the past season but honestly Russo has probably stood out to me lately more than any others. Again at 23 years old I think the best is still to come from Russo but I think we are going to see her play a big part in England's progress through the Euros with her fantastic attacking ability. Russo is definitely going to be a player I will be keeping a close eye on throughout the competition and I am really hoping she gets plenty of game time and gets her name on the score sheet a few times.

So there you go that is what we think to the England squad for the upcoming Euros. The past few competitions I think England have had a strong side but for some reason this squad is definitely giving me a lot more hope than in previous years and I actually think we could progress quite far into the tournament and show the rest of the world what could be heading their way in the next World Cup. With the squad being a nice mix of youth and experience I think this could be a squad that we see a lot more frequently but I will be honest I think I am just looking forward to watching the youngsters this time around as they are going to be key to England's progression. 

What do you think to England's squad for the euros?

Could we see the rise of the Lionesses during Euro 2022?


Are we finally going to see the rise of the Lionesses during the 2022 Women's Euros? For so long the team seemed to have been up and down performance wise like they were riding a rollercoaster but with Sarina Wiegman in charge the national team finally seems to be settling down and the results have been going in their favour, the are rising back to show us what they are capable of but is this going to last a long time or is the honeymoon period with Wiegman in charge going to bring things to a grinding halt? 

We started watching the England a lot more closely during the 2015 Word Cup and with this being the first time we had personally watched them play in a competition it was an eye opener for us and it was a joy to watch them unlike the pain their male counterparts put us through it actually looked like they could go on to win however, they were beaten in the semi final due to a very unlucky own goal, they still came third in the competition though which was definitely good going. They showed some great quality and showed some great progress on the pitch. That all came to a bit of a halt though when then manager Mark Sampson came into the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, with all the chaos off the pitch going you could see the toll it was taking on the team and after some great years of progress performances just weren't up to scratch and we save Sampson leave the club in September 2017 not long after getting the team to another semi final finish in the Euro 2017 competition. 

Mo Marley stepped in as interim manager whilst the country found a permanent replacement for Sampson and we saw the team start to get back on track with some pretty good results. In early 2018 they finally found their permanent replacement though and we saw Phil Neville stepping up to take charge of the nation. Now I will be 100% honest here I was never a fan of the Neville appointment, he didn't have experience of the women's game and honestly it just felt like they were bringing in a fairly big name from the men's game to try increase the fan base. Granted whilst he was in charge we were still seeing results but games just felt flat and lackluster. We saw the teams world ranking begin to drop a fair bit too which in the grand scheme of things shouldn't have been happening, we had the quality to be in the top 2 in my opinion but we have now found ourselves out of the top 5. Under the appointment of Neville though we did win the She Believes Cup in 2019, an important year as we were heading into the World Cup but honestly we only seemed to win that as other teams weren't performing as you would expect from them. 

As we were approaching the World Cup performances started to look a little bit better but they still seemed a way off from what we had been seeing in previous years. We did surprisingly well in the World Cup though and once again made it to the semi finals but were unfortunately beaten by the eventual winners the USA, that game certainly was an interesting one but for me you could definitely see the differences in quality between the USA and England, it certainly highlighted areas to work on.

In 2021 Neville stepped down from his role to persue a position over in the MLS and the reaction over on social media seemed to be that people were happy for a change in management, every time an England Squad was announced or a game was played there wasn't much praise for Neville it was negative a lot of the time so that change was much needed and we definitely seem to have landed ourselves lucky with new manager Sarina Wiegman taking the reigns. 

Weigman left her role at the Netherlands to take up the position with England and if her time with the Netherlands is anything to go by we are definitely in for a treat. Wiegman was announced as the new manager in September 2021 and since then we have not seen England lose a game (this is correct at the time of original post date), and overall the team just seems to be working together a lot better on the pitch granted there are somethings that need working on but every team has their weakness and I really do think during the Euros and next years World Cup we could really see an England team that shows us their potential and hopefully breaks that semi final curse. 

The thing I am loving the most so far about having Wiegman in charge is the fact she isn't afraid of adding new faces to the squad and leaving others out if they haven't been performing their best, she has been experimenting with the squad and it has been working. For so long we were just seeing the same players getting called up no matter how they had performed at club level but at long last there has been change in the squad and it is really working in England's favour. It is nice seeing the younger players getting the chance to make a name for themselves too and I think there is now a nice balance in each squad announcement of experience and youth something that is always going to be essential for the growth and progression of the national team. 

We saw England win the 2022 Arnold Clarke against some tough opponents, Germany, Canada & Spain, granted they won 1 and drew 2 in this competition but for me it showed growth within the squad, they weren't playing easy teams like they would in other competitions and it was a chance for them to prove themselves which they certainly did. To face those teams without losing a single game is some good going. 

It is safe to say that these Euros should be a big test for Wiegman and the Lionesses but lets hope they can put in some fantastic performances and who knows this might be their year to finally break that semi final curse and reach the final on home turf but I guess only time will tell. Either way I am really excited to see how the team does in the Euros and I think it is safe to say we are going to be in for a treat watching England play this summer. With the World Cup coming next year too there is certainly a quick turn around between the tournaments so let's hope even in that short space of time we see England going from strength to strength as it could certainly be a good few years for the nation. Now bring on the 6th July I am so ready for the Euros to start.

Our favourite Man Utd players from the 2021/22 season

I think every Manchester United fan can agree... it has definitely been a tough season to be a United fan. Results have been shocking for the majority of the season and when you look at the squad names on paper it is definitely safe to say the team should be doing much better. Things just haven't gone right way though and I am sure there are plenty of reasons why and a lot of those are certainly what is going on behind the seasons. When I saw this post approaching on the calendar I honestly sat and thought to myself usually this list would feature far too many players as I normally struggle to narrow the list down due to some great performances over the season, this year though 4 names came to mind and that was it. This is definitely the easiest favourite players list I have ever done. So here are those players that I believe have had a pretty good season, not great, but good enough for them to stand out to me...


David De Gea

I think it is safe to say De Gea has really helped the club out this season and put in some fantastic performances to keep the club in the top half of the season. Defence has been a weak point at the club and it has often been left to him to step up and stop the opposition in situations where the defence have simply switched off. De Gea has definitely stepped up this season and fingers crossed he can do this again next season as when he is at his best the club really benefits. Maybe it was the though of Henderson breathing down his neck for game time that helped him pull of some great saves or maybe it is the new manager coming in but whatever it is let's hope he has another good season next season. 


Cristiano Ronaldo

A lot of people are saying Ronaldo has been the big problem at the club this season but I am not sure how you can say that when some of his performances have certainly helped keep the club in the top half of the table and some of his goals have just been fantastic. The club had been having problems long before Ronaldo came back and if anything he has linked up well with most of those around him including youngster Elanga. His return helped win back some fans after last season too and I just hope he is still at the club next season as I think he could end up being a key player in the rebuild and really help push for some trophies to return to the club at long last. 


Anthony Elanga

Youngster Elanga has definitely had a good season in my eyes and has really shown us fans just what he is capable of. I think if he stays on the right track and injury free he is going to be a player that Ten Hag just can't ignore. I am really hoping we see plenty of him next season and he shows us that this season wasn't just a one off with how well he played in some important games. I think he could see him being one of the big names in the future if he continues the way he has done.


Fred

I know a lot of people will be reading this and questioning this choice however, I think compared to past seasons Fred has actually performed quite well. Watching him play alongside Ronaldo he has made some great link up passes and got United into some really good positions on the field. He has definitely had one of his best seasons in a United shirt this time round, whether that is the players around him looking poor or due to him upping his game well I guess it could be either reason really but he is definitely a player that has stood out to me. 

So there you go those are my favourite Manchester United players for the 2021/22 season it has definitely been a rough season as I said at the start of the post but fingers crossed next season is going to be much better especially if the club sticks to its promise of a decent transfer budget for Ten Hag to really rebuild the team which we all know has been needed for a long time now. Let's hope the next time I am writing a post about my favourite Manchester United players it is actually harder to narrow the list down like it used to. 

Who were some of your favourite Manchester United players for the 2021/22 season?