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.

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