Mark Sampson’s Lionesses kick off their European Championship campaign against a familiar foe in the Netherlands on Wednesday evening
England kick off their Women’s Euro 2017 campaign on Wednesday night when they take on Scotland in the Netherlands.
The Lionesses are looking to build on their excellent performance at the 2015 World Cup, when they placed third, by challenging France and Germany for the trophy at this tournament.
In their way in their opener in Utrecht is a familiar foe. Scotland, ranked 21st in the world, are one of the outsiders at this year’s European Championship and playing in the competition’s finals for the first time.
|Game||England vs Scotland|
|Date||Wednesday, July 19|
|Time||19:45 BST, 14:45 ET|
TV CHANNEL & LIVE STREAM
In the UK, the match will be available to watch live on television on Channel 4 and Eurosport 2 and by stream via channel4.com and Eurosport Player.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|Channel 4 / Eurosport 2||channel4.com / Eurosport Player|
In the US, the match will not be available to watch live on television but can be streamed on ESPN3.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
SQUADS & TEAM NEWS
|Goalkeepers||Bardsley, Chamberlain, Telford|
|Defenders||Bronze, Stokes, Houghton, Potter, Stoney, Bassett, Greenwood, Alex Scott|
|Midfielders||Jill Scott, Nobbs, Christiansen, Williams, Moore, Carney, Bright|
|Forwards||Taylor, Parris, White, Duggan, Kirby|
England coach Mark Sampson likes to make full use of his squad and rotate his team depending on specific opponents, so his lineups can be difficult to predict.
He seems to have settled on Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Laura Bassett and Demi Stokes as his preferred back four, though, while the attack will be built around star midfielder Karen Carney.
Potential starting XI: Chamberlain; Bronze, Houghton, Bassett, Stokes; Nobbs, Williams, Jill Scott; Carney; Taylor, Duggan.
|Goalkeepers||Fay, Lynn, Alexander|
|Defenders||Barsley, Joelle Murray, Dieke, Corsie, Howard, Frankie Brown, McLauchlan, Smith|
|Midfielders||Leanne Ross, Love, Lauder, Cuthbert, Weir, Crichton, Evans, Arthur|
|Forwards||Jane Ross, Christie Murray, Clelland, Fiona Brown|
Hayley Lauder, who has been playing at left-back for Scotland, is an injury doubt so Chloe Arthur could step in to complete the back four.
Potential starting XI: Fay; Frankie Brown, Joelle Murray, Barsley, Arthur; Evans, Crichton, Corsie, Weir, Fiona Brown; Jane Ross.
BETTING & GAME ODDS
England are 1/4 favourites to win, according to dabblebet, with Scotland rated at 9/1 and the draw available at 9/2.
England may not have the star quality of some of their rivals at this tournament, but they have become an increasingly impressive team unit in recent years.
They conceded more than one goal only once – in their semi-final defeat to Japan – at the last World Cup and should boast a similarly solid core at this Women’s Euro, with Steph Houghton and Laura Bassett partnered at centre-back.
Lucy Bronze is a standout player who made the 2016-17 Champions League squad of the season at right-back, and between the likes of Jordan Nobbs, Fara Williams and Jill Scott, coach Mark Sampson has plenty of experience to call upon in midfield.
England’s ability to challenge at this tournament will probably depend on their attack. Sampson has taken a risk by leaving Chelsea striker Eniola Aluko at home and needs the likes of Jodie Taylor and Toni Duggan – a new Barcelona signing – to step up.
Any significant contribution from the gifted Fran Kirby, who is returning from long-term injury problems, would be a bonus.
The Lionesses are a superior team to Scotland but will have to watch out for Manchester City striker Jane Ross, who has scored 49 international goals, as well as left-wing livewire Fiona Brown.