Euro 2022 is already proving to be a memorable tournament and we’ve only reached the quarter-finals.
Attendance was the highest at any European Women’s Championship, with the overall attendance record being broken with 15 games remaining.
Goals were plentiful on the pitch – never before have there been so many goals in the group stage of a Women’s EURO.
BBC Sport have picked five things to keep in mind as the knockout rounds begin.
Can anyone beat England?
Hosts England were favorites going into the tournament and showed why.
The lionesses slowly started edging a 1-0 victory over Austria in the opening game in front of a record crowd at Old Trafford before they got into their running stride beat two-time winners Norway 8-0.
They rounded out Group A with another whopping win. beat Northern Ireland 5-0.
The 14 goals scored by England are the most by any team in the group stage, beating Germany’s record of 11 set 21 years ago. And they were one of just two teams to go through the group stage at Euro 2022 without conceding – the other being Germany.
England sent a message to the rest of Europe that They’re the ones to beat.
Eight-time champions Germany came a little under the radar into EURO but have once again upheld their tournament tradition, keeping all three group games without conceding, while France have also been in impressive form.
Before the tournament began, data company Nielsen Gracenote predicted England and Sweden as favorites but described it as an “open competition”.
After the group stage, Simon Gleave, Head of Sports Analysis at Nielsen Gracenote, said: “England and Sweden remain the top two favorites but they are now in the same half of the draw.
“Germany have overtaken both France and the Netherlands and are now the third favorite as the latter two meet in the quarter-finals.”
The race for the golden shoe
If England take home the trophy, one of their players will surely win the Golden Boot as well.
At the last Euro 2017 in the Netherlands, England were beaten by the hosts in the semi-finals, but striker Jodie Taylor became the top scorer with five goals.
Arsenal’s in-form Beth Mead tops the charts this time after scoring five goals in their first three games, including a hat-trick against Norway. She also has three assists to her name.
Manchester United striker Alessia Russo has only played 110 minutes, all as substitutes, but has scored three goals, while France’s Grace Geyoro has scored the same number after her hat-trick against Italy.
Germany’s Alexandra Popp, who missed the last two Euros through injury, only returned towards the end of the domestic season after suffering severe knee problems but scored a goal in each of the group games to also move them into third place.
Who were the surprise packages?
The biggest upset of the tournament came for all the wrong reasons when two-time winners Norway failed to advance through the group stage.
Reinvigorated by the return of first Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg to international football, Martin Sjogren’s side suffered a humiliating 8-0 defeat by England.
They still had chances to advance but were beaten by Austria in the last group match – Sjogren retired after the tournament.
The Austrians, who narrowly lost to England in the first game of the tournament, were a surprise semi-finalist in 2017 and once again showed that, despite their Fifa World Ranking 21. are not to be underestimated.
Another team that defied all predictions and made it through the group stage was Belgium, who are ranked 19th in the world.
Nielsen Gracenote had given them a 27% chance of making it out of Group D, compared to their rivals Italy at 57% and Iceland at 38%.
Who has a favorable draw?
England are in the top half of the draw after leading their group. They face Spain in the quarter-finals and, if they survive, the prospect of a semi-final against Sweden, Europe’s top-ranked team.
The bottom half of the draw, meanwhile, is stacked – with Germany, France and defending champions Netherlands all battling for a place in the final at Wembley on July 31.
Former England international Sue Smith said: “I might be a bit biased but I see a final between England and Germany that will be so exciting for everyone.
“Efficient is the best way to describe Germany – they overcame the challenges they faced in the three games and I was so impressed.”
Gleave said England had “twice as many chances” of reaching the semi-finals as Spain, largely due to home advantage.
“Sweden and Germany are the most likely semi-finalists with an 80% and 79% chance respectively of beating their quarter-final opponents Belgium and Austria,” he said.
“France vs Netherlands is the closest quarter-final. France has a 54% chance of a place in the semifinals and the Netherlands 46%.”
Will Covid have an impact?
It seems that no major sporting event has been left untouched by Covid in recent years and the Euros were no different.
The Netherlands have suffered their biggest setback yet when striker Vivianne Miedema missed their side’s last two group games.
England have seen defender Lotte Wubben-Moy and backup goalkeeper Hannah Hampton test positive during the tournament, but the biggest disruption came when it was revealed manager Sarina Wiegman had Covid.
The Dutchwoman was absent from the Lionesses’ win against Northern Ireland in their last group game and had to face a race against time to test negative in the quarter-finals.
England winger Lauren Hemp said: “It’s a frustrating thing and it’s unfortunate that she has it, but we practiced for so long for these scenarios and what would happen.”
Euro 2022: what to watch out for in the quarter-finals
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