English international football, it’s fair to say, is on a roll.
Last Saturday, success in the men’s under-20 World Cup was followed up by a victory for the under-19 side in the men’s European Championship.
Next, it’s the turn of the Lionesses to keep the England roll going, as they begin their campaign in the 2017 Euros. Led by Steph Houghton and coached by Mark Sampson, they’re a decent outside shot for the title.
But they will need to be at their very best if they are to topple the current kingpins of European football, Germany.
England are likely to win their group, and will hope to avoid France in the quarter-finals. If they do so, they might consider themselves hot favourites to proceed to the semis, at which point they will probably find themselves genuinely tested for the first time.
Their tournament begins on Wednesday against Scotland in Utrecht, and Sampson’s charges will be looking for a strong start. The squad boasts some of the most experienced and accomplished footballers at the tournament, including new Barcelona star Toni Duggan. Both management and players rightly fancy their chances of a victory to kickstart what they hope will be a deep run in the competition.
— Toni Duggan (@toniduggan) July 6, 2017
Perhaps only the French and Germans have better squads on paper. But if the Lionesses can manage to stay away from them until the final stages, the old cliche of “anything can happen” comes into play.