Euro 2022: Here is everything you need to know

England will host across 10 venues, including Wembley Stadium, Old Trafford and Stadium MK

Wasn’t this supposed to be Euro 2021?

It was. But then Covid did its thing and the tournament was postponed from last summer.

Who’s hosting it?

England — 10 venues will be used in all, including Wembley Stadium, which will host the final. The others are Old Trafford (Manchester), St Mary’s (Southampton), Amex Stadium (Brighton), Stadium MK (Milton Keynes), Brentford Community Stadium, Leigh Sports Village (Greater Manchester), Bramall Lane (Sheffield), Academy Stadium (Manchester) and New York Stadium (Rotherham).

Is football coming home?

Well, England have never won the European Championships, their best efforts coming in the inaugural 1984 tournament and in 2009 when they reached the final, so if they win it this time around it’ll be the trophy’s first stay in Blighty.

Which nations have qualified for Euro 2022?

With their European rankings in brackets, here goes: Sweden (1), France (2), Netherlands (3), Germany (4), Spain (5), England (6), Norway (7), Italy (8), Denmark (9), Iceland (10), Belgium (11), Switzerland (12), Austria (13), Finland (18), Portugal (19), Northern Ireland (28).

So Sweden are the favourites?

Funnily enough, no. In fact, in the odds for the tournament, they’re only about sixth in the running; Spain, England, reigning champions the Netherlands, France and Germany all ahead of them.

How close did the Republic of Ireland come to qualifying for the tournament?

Close-ish. They came third in their group behind runaway winners Sweden and two points behind runners-up Ukraine — who went in to a play-off where they lost 4-1 on aggregate to Northern Ireland, who qualified for their first major tournament.

What’s the format?

Standard enough. The 16 teams are in four groups of four, the top two in each progressing to the quarter-finals.

Which nations have been the most successful in the European Championships?

Germany, by a country mile. They’ve won eight of the 12 tournaments since it all kicked off in 1984; Sweden (1984) and Norway (1987, 1993) the only other nations to triumph until the Netherlands won it last time around. There ended Germany’s quest for a seven in a row.

Can I see the tournament on TV?

You most certainly can. RTÉ and the BBC will have live coverage of all 31 games across their various platforms.

But isn’t girly football rubbish?

Tune in to Euro 2022, and come back to us. You’ll be mightily impressed.

Four to watch

Alexia Putellas (Spain)

The best in the business, as her Ballon d’Or award last year confirmed, the 28-year-old Barcelona midfielder is simply a joy to watch. She’s most often compared with Andrés Iniesta, a player who can unlock the most stubborn of defences while chipping in with plenty of goals — she was the top scorer in last season’s Champions League. If Spain are to live up to their favourite’s tag at Euro 2022, they’ll need Putellas to be at her imperial best.

Lauren Hemp (England)

There are a whole pile of Grade A players in the England squad, but few excite the hosts more than Manchester City left-winger Lauren Hemp. The 21-year-old has won the PFA Young Player of the Year award in four of the last five seasons, and since making her senior England debut she has scored seven goals in 21 appearances. A pacy dribbler, she’s a right-back’s worst nightmare. Expect to see her team-mates feeding her plenty of ball.

Ada Hegerberg (Norway)

Back in March, the Lyon striker ended her five-year self-imposed exile from international football, her protest against what she said was the Norwegian federation’s disrespect for the women’s game. Euro 2022 will, then, be graced by one of the greats of the game, the 26-year-old having amassed an abundance of honours, including six Champions League titles with Lyon and the inaugural Ballon d’Or Féminin back in 2018. International football was poorer for her absence.

Marie-Antoinette Katoto (France)

The Paris Saint-Germain striker is regarded as one of the very best in women’s football, coming close to averaging a goal a game for club and country since her senior international debut in 2018, oft leaving the opposition eating cake. France are a conundrum going into this tournament, player clashes with their coach suggesting it is an unhappy camp, but if the likes of Katoto can rise to the occasion and set aside that strife, then they will be serious contenders.

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan

Mary Hannigan is a sports writer with The Irish Times