Sweden primed for Euro glory
Sweden suffered Olympic heartbreak in Tokyo last year, as they went down on penalties against Canada in the final. It was doubly painful because Sweden had also lost the 2016 Olympic final to Germany. This is a team that has been threatening to win a major trophy for quite some time - they reached the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup, and if you look at the last seven European Championships, they have lost two finals, been beaten semi-finalists three times and lost two quarter-finals.
Since that desperate disappointment in Tokyo, Sweden have gone unbeaten, and there is quality and experience throughout the side starting at the back with 39-year-old keeper Hedvig Lindahl, who is closing in on 200 caps. Chelsea's Magdalena Eriksson and Juventus veteran Linda Sembrant give the backline some solidity, although Amanda Ilestedt will also compete for a starting spot.
Skipper Caroline Seger has appeared for her country well over 200 times, and will screen the defence, while Kosovare Asllani, Hanna Bennison and Filippa Angeldahl give coach Peter Gerhardsson plenty of options in midfield.
The attack is exciting. Former Bayern and Wolfsburg player Fridolina Rolfo has had an excellent season for Barcelona, and lends versatility to the attack. Arsenal's Stine Blackstenius tends to raise her game for the big tournaments, and she excelled at both the 2019 World Cup and last year's Olympics. Lina Hurtig has played in some massive matches for Juventus, and has a respectable scoring record at international level.
Sweden are a well-organised, physical side that is strong at set plays. They play on the front foot, but if they lose the ball, expect them to drop off and keep their shape rather than initiating an aggressive press.
Sweden haven't conceded multiple goals in a match since they beat Australia 4-2 at the Olympics, and they will look to be solid and let their flair players turn games in their favour.
Sweden are in the Netherlands' group, but with Switzerland and Portugal also in that section, it would be a massive shock if Gerhardsson's side didn't qualify for the quarter-finals.
I think their Sportsbook price of 2.47/5 to win Group C is attractive, and they are trading at 9.517/2 to win EURO 2022. That seems too big to me, as Sweden are one of several sides who can win a wide-open tournament.
Hegerberg's return can spark Norwegian charge
Norway are historically one of the women's game's big hitters. They reached the World Cup final in 1991 and 1995 (they lost to USA and then Germany), and they have twice won the Euros, once in 1987 and once in 1993. Between 2001 and 2013, the Scandinavian side either reached the semis or final of every single European Championship.
However, Norway were humbled in the 2019 World Cup quarter-final, beaten 3-0 by England in Le Havre. At the 2017 Euros they lost all three of their group matches without even scoring a goal. To make matters worse that year, Lyon superstar Ada Hegerberg took a long break from international football, citing the Norwegian Football Federation's failure to take women's football seriously.
After a five-year absence, forward Hegerberg is back in the fold, and has already scored a hat-trick against Kosovo in World Cup qualifying. The 26-year-old is a deadly finisher, is a superb in the air and has great composure. She averages better than a goal a game for Lyon over an eight-year period, and it is hoped her injury woes are behind her, after she ruptured an ACL in 2020.
Hegerberg looks a lively runner at 21.020/1 on the Sportsbook to be the Euro 2022 top scorer.
Long-serving coach Martin Sjogren also has Barcelona winger Caroline Graham Hansen at his disposal, a player who created the most chances in last season's Champions League and had the highest Expected Assists total. Chelsea's Guro Reiten is also a creative force - she excelled at wing-back for the Blues in the WSL, and will play in a more advanced role for her country.
With Austria, Northern Ireland and England in their group, Norway should feel they can at least qualify for the quarter-finals, but they will then have to play a side from Group B. Realistically, that could be Spain, Germany or Denmark, and it's hard to see Norway going all the way. You could put their price of 1.330/100 to qualify into a multiple, as it would be a major shock if they went home early.
Could Danes cause Group B shock?
Denmark got all the way to the EURO 2017 final, before losing 4-2 to the Netherlands in a thrilling final. That glorious run included a shock victory against mighty Germany in the quarter-finals, and the Danes will once again face Germany in this year's group stage. They'll also take on tournament favourites Spain and rank outsiders Finland.
Realistically, a win over either Spain or Germany might be enough for qualification, and recent friendly wins over Austria and Brazil have boosted confidence further.
Chelsea's Pernille Harder is one of the best players in the world, capable of scoring and making goals at the highest level. Nadia Nadim made the squad despite having to recover from a serious knee injury, and she has produced big contributions in tournament games. Coach Lars Sondergaard has been with the team for five years, and has plenty of experienced performers to call upon.
Spain's favouritism has a lot to do with Barcelona's form, but it's important to remember that they aren't the same side, while Germany aren't quite the team that once dominated European football.
Denmark are capable of springing a surprise here, and although I understand why Germany and Spain are shorter than them to qualify, the gap is too big.
Denmark are a massive 44.043/1 to win the tournament and a tempting 4.216/5 just to qualify from Group B.