Euro 2022 promises to be an incredible summer festival of football and a record-breaking celebration of the women’s game.
Every major tournament has the chance to launch new stars, giving players a new wider international platform – even those that may have already been performing for years.
This year’s finals in England will be no different, with massive demand for tickets and a continental-wide television audience eagerly awaiting world-class action and entertainment.
Read on for 16 players to watch out for this summer – one from each country – and not necessarily the established superstars you may be expecting to see…
Ella Toone only made her senior international debut in February 2021 but is already close to an automatic starter for England manager Sarina Wiegman and has scored 10 goals in just 13 appearances to date.
The 22-year-old has developed impressively with Manchester United and thrives as a goalscoring ‘number 10’ role at club level, while the loss of Fran Kirby to illness now puts even more responsibility onto Toone.
Austria’s chief goal threat this summer will be Hoffenheim forward Nicole Billa, who goes into the tournament off the back of playing Champions League football with her club side.
Billa scored in group stage wins over Danish club Koge, as well as in the qualifying rounds. Five years ago, she was also a young member of the Austria squad that surprisingly reached the semi-finals
Norway have two obvious superstars in Caroline Graham Hansen and the returning Ada Hegerberg, who recently ended her international abstinence, but Chelsea winger Guro Reiten is not one to overlook.
The versatile left-sided star previously impressed at the 2019 World Cup, right before her move to England, and could very easily rack up the assists if she connects well with the aforementioned Hegerberg.
Experienced forward Rachel Furness is the player that Northern Ireland will be looking at this summer. She is the country’s all-time top scorer and, at 33, this could be her last and only chance for her at a major tournament.
Furness should go into Euro 2022 full of confidence off the back of a successful club season with Liverpool that has seen the Reds secure promotion back to the WSL after two years away.
Lea Schuller didn’t have the breakout tournament at the 2019 World Cup that she was tipped for. But, three years on-now 24 and entering her peak of her, the German forward will be a danger to any defense she faces.
Schuller has gone from strength to strength at club level since trading Essen for Bayern Munich and boasts a prolific strike rate for Die Roten and for the national team. If she performs, so will she Germany.
Fitness struggles have prevented Manchester United fans from seeing the best of Signe Bruun since arriving on loan in January, but the current Danish Footballer of the Year is a special player on her day.
Bruun was poached by Lyon last summer after helping PSG break the club’s domestic dominance in France. She had a prolific 2021 for Denmark and will play alongside celebrated superstar Pernille Harder at Euro 2022.
All eyes on Spain this summer will be on all-conquering Barcelona captain and 2021 Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas. Yet Spain’s many other talents deserve plenty of recognition in their own right.
Aitana Bonmati has been there right beside Putellas for club and country over the last few years. She always has a goal in her and was named player of the match in last season’s Champions League final.
Finland are really up against it in a ‘group of death’ alongside Germany, Spain and Denmark. But they have some decent players of their own to rely on, including Brighton full-back Emma Koivisto.
The 27-year-old moved to England last summer from Hacken in Sweden and was previously developed on the American college scene at Florida State University. She will make Finland tough to beat.
Jill Roord has been steadily climbing for the last decade, making her mark at Twente, becoming a senior international, moving to Germany with Bayern Munich, taking another step up with Arsenal and latterly joining Wolfsburg.
The 24-year-old is already a Euro 2017 champion with the Netherlands. But while she doesn’t yet have the same star power as Vivianne Miedema or Lieke Martens, this tournament could be hers to shine.
The time for Sweden to win a major tournament could be now or never. This is an experienced squad, many of whom have two Olympic silver medals under their belt already, with striker Stina Blackstenius at her peak.
She has proven herself at this level before and has made a flying start to a new chapter of her club career with Arsenal in recent months. If Sweden can provide the 26-year-old with service, she is a golden boot contender.
Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic has been a constant at Switzerland’s only two major international tournament appearances to date, coming in 2015 and 2017. Since the latter, she has played in the United States and moved to Spain as a part of the all-conquering Barcelona squad .
The 31-year-old isn’t a new name. She was also a Champions League winner with Frankfurt and has an outstanding strike rate for her country.
Diana Silva could be Portugal’s best chance of goals in what is likely to be a difficult tournament for them in light of minimal preparation time as a late replacement for Russia and in a very challenging group.
The 26-year-old plays her football club for Sporting CP, where she had previously been prolific prior to a disappointing spell at Aston Villa. Few members of the squad have made a mark outside Portugal.
An aging core of French talent is ready to be replaced this summer as the baton hands over to a new generation. Marie-Antoinette Katoto is the leading light for France’s future prospects.
Euro 2022 will be her first major tournament after missing the World Cup on home soil in 2019. But she has scored virtually a goal per game for PSG since 2017 and for France since 2018.
Cristiana Girelli is looking to give Italy a reason to celebrate this summer. The Azzurri were formerly a powerhouse of women’s international football and began to recapture some of that at the last World Cup.
Now 31, Girelli has a ridiculous goal record at club level and helped Juventus knock Chelsea out of the Champions League this season. Her time for her to make her mark at an international tournament is now or never.
Justine Vanhaevermaet has settled in the WSL with Reading this season after moving to England from a spell in Norway. The Royals have enjoyed some excellent results and she has been a big part of that.
Belgium don’t have a strong record at this level and have only been to one previous major tournament – that was Euro 2017. It will take players like
Vanhaevermaet to upset the established order in Group D.
20-year-old striker Sveindis Jane Jonsdottir plays her club football for Champions League giants Wolfsburg and is Iceland’s reigning women’s footballer of the year.
That individual accolade had been won by Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir every year from 2015 to 2020, highlighting the impact and potential that the young Jonsdottir has to become a star in the near future.
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