Wednesday, July 20, 2022

FEM 2022--Quarterfinals

Servus Syndicate Members,

A couple of pleasant surprises as we shed half the field and head into the knockouts. Austria and Belgium punched through, taking the place of the tipped Norway and Italy. We've a fine tournament going, replete with intriguing storylines and a wonderful upcoming slate of matches.

Interest understandably takes a slight dip on the final group stage matchday. Your friendly bookie sincerely hopes everyone's all rested up and ready for games with the ultimate set of consequences. 

If you happened to take a little breather during the last round, you missed out on many more high-scoring matches. We're still waiting on our first 0-0 draw in this competition. Unreal! A full three days before group stage play concluded, we even smashed the previous record for goals scored in this particular tournament, set back in 2017.

Seventy-eight total tallies scored. We're now averaging over three-and-a-quarter per match. The Attendance figures, which also set a new record before we were even done with round two, inches closer to 400,000. That's an average of about 15k per match!

Need some catching up? No worries. The bookie has you covered with hyperlinks to the dailies. 

Day 10 Recap (Austria and Norway)

Day 11 Recap (Germany, Spain, and Denmark)

Day 12 Recap (Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland)

Day 13 Recap (Belgium, France, Italy, and Iceland)

Guesting it up with us this time, we'll have the team the bookie absolutely did not wish to see eliminated with their "farewell thunderclap". Give it up for the "Ice-dottirs"!

Damned if that final one doesn't get me....every time.

Saturday, July 20th

England vs. Spain


We have a match that appears intriguing enough on paper set to kick things off tomorrow evening. Everyone waits with bated breath as we wait to see how the seemingly invincible hostesses handle their biggest challenge yet in this tournament. How will a team built for a very specific style of approach play handle the reality of having to cede some possession?

Searching for weak spots among the team we can cheekily call the "Indomitable Lionesses", one could day that the manner in which Wiegman's midfield is set up does accord the Spaniards some hope of exploiting a bit of space in the soft underbelly. The bookie's latest tactical take on England reinforces the revised theory that Wiegmann runs a six-seven-eight stepping stone 4-2-3-1.

While the constellation can revert to the 4-1-4-1 I was almost certain I saw in the opening round off the ball, the second tactical prognosis really seems to be the specific strategy the trainer wishes to see for the duration of the competition. Wiegman turned a few heads when she opted to stick with the same XI in the meaningless final group stage match. The gaffer defending this by saying she needed the girls to maintain their rhythm.

Fair enough. That they did. The regulars tapped danced their way through the Northern Ireland match and are unquestionably brimming with confidence ahead of this one. White, Bright, Stanway, Stanway, and Hemp also got some needed early rest with early sub-offs too. One doesn't really have any difficulty projecting the English lineup.

As of this writing, there is some news of a few COVID cases in the England camp. Back-up keeper Hannah Hampton is the only confirmed case thus far. There could be more. Bookie honestly doesn't think it should end up being consequential as there are competent subs at every position who can easily slide into a system Wiegman has drilled everyone in. 

As noted above, the English midfield "split stagger" could accord the Spaniards a chance to boss possession outside their final third. This would be a salient point if Vilda actually had someone who could finish off balls into what will still be a crowded box. Regrettably, it doesn't look as if he does.

Poor Vilda has made valiant efforts to find his best XI during the group stage. After pouring over all the previous scouts, bookie thinks he'll have to make the most of the last template he used in the final group stage game. 

The slender 1-0 victory over the Danes was much more promising for La Roja then the scoreline indicates. At the very least, Vilda got rid of the false-nine approach he used in both rounds one as well as two. He's also located surgers in the form of del Castillo, Carmona, and Cordova.

I've done my best below.

Very likely still won't be enough.

With the Line, I'll tip that it'll be closer than expected.

Projected Lineups:

 "The Three Lionesses" (4-2-3-1) 

 "La Roja Feminina" (4-3-3) 

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under—4 Goals  

120 Minutes—2 to 1

Penalty Shootout—3 to 1

 Alessia Russo start—2 to 1

 Hemp brace—2 to 1

 Esther Gonzalez start—2 to 1

 Bonmati brace—2 to 1

THE LINE: England +1 Goal

Thursday, July 21st

Deutschland vs. "Kleindeutschland"


DFB vs. ÖFB!

Some border battle we have here! Bookie cops to being slightly nervous about the revved up Austrian girls. Their latest victory instills in them great confidence. Though they may ben overmatched against their must larger and better-stocked neighbors, intimidation is surely almost non-existent in Irene Fuhrmann's camp.

At least in one very specific sense, the Austrian women have nothing to fear at all. The pressure is all on us after we crashed out of the 2017 Euros in the quarterfinals whilst Austria made the semis in the same tournament. Our program fights to regain its expected supremacy. They, on the other, hand, can take advantage of the tension and pounce.

Your friendly bookie likes the manner in which the ÖFB gals stack up against his team well enough. With Katharina Naschenweng back in the lineup we could get a result similar to the one we witnessed against England on Day One. Close. Nail-biting. Space and chances at a premium. We may have to eke out a victory here.

Plenty of scrappiness in the forecast here. Hopefully the game doesn't devolve into too much of a choppy mess. We'd all come out losers in that case. What's truly needed from my Mädels concerns some midfield wizardry on the part of the returning Lena Oberdorf. If she can pull the strings in an elegant fashion from the start, we'll get an early goal and there shall be no need for wall the physicality.

No real drastic changes from Martina Voss-Tecklenburg anticipated here. The Bundestrainerin should fall right back into her round two template. The cruise-control win over Finland in the group stage's dead-rubber gave her some solid options off the bench, but no major alterations with which to work. Bookie remains fairly certain that Popp will start over Schüller, despite the latter exiting COVID quarantine.

Low line here nevertheless.

Projected Lineups:

 "Die Mädels" (4-1-4-1) 

 "Unsere Madl" (4-1-4-1) 

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under—3 Goals 

120 Minutes—2 to 1

Penalty Shootout—3 to 1

 Popp headed goal—Straight Up

 Popp brace—2 to 1

 Zadrazil goal—Straight Up

 M.T Höbinger start—2 to 1

THE LINE: Deutschland +1 Goal

Friday, July 22nd

Sweden vs. Belgium


Nice that we got some surprises out of this tournament coming out of the groups. To be perfectly candid about it it, your friendly bookie isn't exactly thrilled with the fact that his odds making stats are so strong. Fewer surprises means fewer teams to write about, and thereby less of chance to engage in the joys of discovery.

All of that being said, there's absolutely no way in hell the Red Flames can possibly hope to extend their tourney beyond this phase. Ive Serneels' girls only find themselves here courtesy of the fact that they encountered few problems parking the bus against a disjointed Italian side filled totally devoid of any sense of identity.

Superficially speaking, one could say the same thing about Sweden as well. Trainer Peter Gerhardsson has made more personnel and tactical changes than one would reasonably associate with a healthy tournament squad at this point. Not really all that much of a problem in the bookie's opinion, as I stand by my assertion that he's gotten it absolutely right just in time.

Placing myself in Gerhardsson's shoes, I'll advocate keeping the exact same XI in the 4-2-3-1 as in the previous match. By the way, the bookie should update a few -Ms on the bookie's personal quest to drop the Germanized spelling of Swedish player names, Some wrote in to commend and point out that there can still be corrections called for. 

Ahem, It's a process. I can't do it all at once. Having given you Amanda Ilestadt and Fridolina Rolfö, I'm not quite prepared to part company with Filippa "Angedal" just yet. Sorry. I prefer "ANGEDAHL". This is a deliberate choice, stemming in large part from the fact that I'm still smarting from that FWM 2019 quarterfinal elimination. 

Should this team rise to the occasion and fulfill their destiny as my pre-selected tournament favorites, perhaps I'll be ready then. For now, "Angedahl" it remains. I like her. Hope she scores lots of goals here. German spelling stays.

Projected Lineups:

 "The Blaugults" (4-2-3-1) 

 "The Red Flames" (4-3-3) 

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under—5 Goals 

120 Minutes—3 to 1

Penalty Shootout—3 to 1

 Dhont start—Straight Up

 Wullaert brace—3 to 1

 Blackstenius hat trick—2 to 1

 Caroline Seger start—Straight Up

THE LINE: Sweden +3 Goals

Friday, July 22nd

France vs. Netherlands


An unequivocal blockbuster to cap this round of fixtures. The defending champion Dutch--slow to get started after numerous setbacks--are now up and running just in time to face the team looking to break their quarterfinal jinx. The pressure continues to pile on KNVB trainer Mark Parsons as he has to get it right with some tough calls here.

Insofar as Hollard is concerned, we got word yesterday that at least one of Parsons' difficult calls has been made for him. We all suspected there was something wrong with Like Martens. The former Barça Femenina star has been looking a step off whilst favoring her foot. Sure enough, it's a tournament-ending injury.

That helps the bookie out a bit as he tries to construct the lineup below. What really helps him out the most, of course, is the assumption that Vivianne Miedema will be back from her COVID isolation in time to contribute for the first time since round one. That totally shifts the dynamic. Even if she's not fully fit, it makes a world of difference.

Building the constellation proved something of a chore Bookie honestly wished he had a better solution to the left-back problem than just to plug Marissa Olislagers back in and hope for the best. Given what we saw from Annie Nouwen (likely still hurt) from last round, however, it doesn't appear as if there's much of a choice.

Something else I'd love to do would involve moving Daniëlle van de Donk back into central midfield.  The good news is that she's been doing well enough in her forward role to merit keeping her there. I'm really counting on Victoria Pelova to make it work on Martens' side in spite of the fact that it's not her regular position.

When  it comes to France, we're falling back into the same false-nine double-pivot system as in round two. One personnel change sees Selma Bacha get the nod over Sakina Karchaoui at right-back following an inspired performance against Iceland. The 21-year-old's pace and skill shall be needed against van de Donk.

On a purely logical level, the uncertainty in the Dutch selection should end up being far more relevant than the uncertainty in the French dressing room, assuming there even is any left at this point. Bookie confesses he doesn't have the greatest case for tipping an upset here beyond a slight hunch that these NextGen Leuwinnen can snatch it late.

We're going with the upset special anyway. I'll be on hand to explain why I'm such an idiot for saying so in the Daily if need be. Pelova. Leuchter. Maybe even Egurolla or Brugts. An merging talent from Parsons' squad makes the difference. Ze French, having given me Laissez Faire football for two consecutive fixtures, pay the price. 

...and Diacre gets fired.


Projected Lineups:

 "Les Bleaus Feminine" (4-3-3) 

 "Clockwork Leuwinnen" (4-3-3) 

Prop Bets (as always, feel free to offer your own)

Over/Under—4 Goals 

120 Minutes—Straight Up

Penalty Shootout—Straight Up

 Egurrola start—2 to 1

 Nouwen start—2 to 1

 Renard brace—Straight Up

 Malard hat trick—3 to 1

THE LINE: Netherlands +1 Goal