Lionesses roaring towards Quarter-Finals | Womens Euro 2017 | The story so far

The group stage of the Women's UEFA Euro 2017 Championships are nearly at an end.  Many of the usual suspects tipped to advance far in the tournament have performed well, though one of the biggest surprises has been the poor form of Norway, the 5th highest ranked team in the competition who have limped out with 3 defeats from 3.

In Group A, hosts Netherlands have lived up to the pressure of being the host nation by winning all 3 of their group games to top the section and reach the Quarter Final stage.  They will be joined by Denmark who got wins over Belgium and Norway to finish runners-up in the group.  

Group B concludes this evening with a winner takes all clash between Russia and tournament favourites Germany for a place in the knockout rounds.  The winners of this match will join Sweden in the last 8 who currently top Group B after a win over Russia and a goalless draw with the Germans.  Both Russia and Germany have defeated Italy so far who will look to pick up some consolation points in their final match against the Swedes.

[caption id="attachment_2656" align="alignleft" width="300"] England captain Steph Houghton is hoping to be lifting the trophy for the Lionesses at the end of the tournament.[/caption]

Group C sees 3 teams battling out for the two spots in the Quarters.  Iceland will be going home after two defeats out of two so far to France and Switzerland.  The French and Austria played out a 1-1 draw on Saturday to see both sides locked on 4 points ahead of their final matches tomorrow night (26th July).  The Austrians should be secure in reaching the Quarter Finals which will leave Switzerland and France to battle each other for the remaining spot.  On paper the French should win this match to qualify for the next round though they will hope to win the group to avoid a potential last 8 clash with England.

One of the tournament favourites are England and the Lionesses have started their campaign brilliantly, demolishing debutants Scotland 6-0 and seeing off Spain 2-0 to book their place in the last 8.  Mark Sampson's side meet Portugal in their last group game who will need to better Spain's result against Scotland to ensure they reach the Quarter Finals.  England's Jodie Taylor currently tops the scoring charts with 4 goals after a hat-trick in the Scotland game and a goal against the Spanish.  

  [caption id="attachment_2655" align="alignright" width="300"] The Mini-Messi, Fran Kirby (Chelsea FC/England) opened the scoring for England against Spain on Sunday after just 2 minutes[/caption]  

For Scotland, their first trip to the European finals has been one to gain experience for future tournaments. Their opening game was a real baptism of fire, going down 6-0 to near rivals England before a tough 2-1 loss to fellow debutants Portugal.  This result on Sunday leaves Anna Signeul's side needing a miraculous big win against Spain to reach the Quarter Finals.  However, a good performance in their final game will be more important in what is their first time playing in the tournament.  The Scots haven't been helped by injuries pre-tournament to stars like Kim Little and during the competition to forward Jane Ross.

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