Friday 28 July 2017, 08:07

Tournament of surprises enters knockout stages

  • UEFA Women's EURO quarter-final line-up complete

  • Debutants Austria win group, Norway fail to win a single game for first time

  • England's Jodie Taylor leads goalscoring (4)

The UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 in The Netherlands has reached the end of the group stage and the tournament has already produced several surprising storylines. reviews all the action that’s taken place from the home of Total Football.

Group A: Hosts flawless, Norway crash out As hosts, the Netherlands have given their fans plenty to cheer about, winning three from three so far in the tournament, and setting the record attendance for their women’s side in the process. Head coach Sarina Wiegman will take confidence from the fact her team has found a way to win in each of their matches, albeit all by one-goal margins.

Denmark are the other team in the quarter-finals coming out of Group A and they did so by edging both Belgium and Norway 1-0. The former will be boosted by a promising tournament as debutants, which included a famous win over Norway in the second matchday of the group. Former champions Norway, in one of the most surprising outcomes of the group stages, lost all three of their matches. It is the first time they have failed to win a group match in the tournament.

Group B: Germany gaining momentum, Sweden through but with bumps in the road Perennial winners Germany began the group with a goalless draw against Sweden, the other powerhouse in the section. Eight-time champions Germany and head coach Steffi Jones then navigated their way past a tricky Italian side before beating Russia 2-0. A seventh successive title is in their sights, but they will need to find ways to score in open play, as three of their four goals came from the penalty spot.

Although they head home, Russia showed that their future is bright after a 2-1 win over Italy in their opening match. Sweden and Germany proved too much for them in their other matches, but there is certainly plenty to build on. Sweden’s 3-2 defeat by Italy in the last group match now means they face a tricky knockout-stage tie against the hosts, who will no doubt be lifted by their home support.

Group C: Debutants Austria top group, France off to shaky start Arguably the biggest surprises of the tournament so far have come from Group C. Austria won their first ever finals match 1-0 against heavily-favoured neighbours Switzerland before even more surprisingly earning a point against title contenders France. They closed out the group with a confident 3-0 win over Iceland, while France stumbled into the quarter-finals with a 1-1 draw against Switzerland.

It was disappointment for Iceland, who were playing in their fourth European championship, as they failed to find a single point in the group. Their coach Freyr Alexandersson did, however, find some positives to reflect on: “The support we've been getting here in Holland was like the men's team last summer. Icelanders can be very proud of how they treat women and women's sport.”

Group D: England perfect, Spain scrape through England finished the group stage with a 100 per cent record, three wins from three, for the first time at a major women’s international tournament. The Lionesses’ confidence is high with Jodie Taylor leading the goalscoring charts (4) and having recorded a 6-0 win over Scotland, which was the biggest margin of victory in tournament history. Taylor’s hat-trick that match was the first in over two decades in the competition.

Spain, who some had as dark horses to win the trophy, started with a confident 2-0 win over neighbours Portugal, but then fell to England and then surprisingly to Scotland. Tournament debutants Scotland and Portugal can both leave with heads held high as they were able to find wins along the way in their maiden appearances.

The stat 6 - England's 6-0 victory over Scotland in the opening match was the biggest finals win in the history of the tournament, surpassing three different 5-0 wins: Norway vs Denmark (1997), Germany vs Russia (2001) and Sweden vs Finland (2013).

Quarter-final fixtures Saturday 29 July Netherlands v Sweden Germany v Denmark

Sunday 30 July Austria v Spain England v France

Semi-finals Thursday 3 August Netherlands/Sweden v England/France Germany/Denmark v Austria/Spain

Final Sunday 6 August Enschede, 17:00 local time