Tuesday, July 5, 2022

FEM 2022--Round One

Servus Syndicate Members,

At long last it is time!

Onward with one final tournament in our journey together. "Tournament Fever" beckons. Nothing compares to the halcyon bliss off losing oneself in one of these events.

Over the past week, it's been the bookie's great pleasure to discover that so many of you took an interest in the girls from my side of the pond. My sincerest gratitude, stateside readership. I know you have your USWNT goddesses. Thanks for taking the opportunity to come visit ones from the (three!) Isles and continent.

In the event that anyone would still like to make acquaintances: 

Group A Preview (England, Norway, Austria, Northern Ireland)  

Group B Preview (Germany, Spain, Denmark, Finland)

Group C Preview (Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal)

Group D Preview (France, Italy, Iceland Belgium) 

Yes, they're pretty comprehensive. If it isn't pushing himself to the limit, it's not your friendly bookie. Everyone prepared for "Tournament Fever"? Brackets and spreadsheets at the ready? Well done. 

We're prepared to rock some lines.

It's customary to invite a special guest to present these with me.


Bad news, everyone. I held of on releasing this lines as I wanted to know the full status of Ballon d'or winner Alexia Putellas. Reports began to emerge from the Spanish camp this morning that she had sprained a knee. Spanish news sources claimed it was much worse and...sure enough. It's an ACL tear. 

Big loss for us all. The Spanish team--courtesy of an eminently qualified replacement covered below--can likely still maintain high hopes for this competition. Unfortunately, we won't get to see the most in-form female footballer in the world compete here. She serves merely as a fictional partaker in this section.

Que te recuperes!

Wednesday, July 6th 

England vs. Austria


Your friendly bookie humbly beseeches you to make time for this. All the pageantry of a glorious midsummer's international football tournament in front of a sold out crowd at Old Trafford. Nearly 75,000 flag waving patrons supporting a women's football match. A sight you will not wish to miss out on. Watch it alongside your bookie....and send in those riffs!

In terms of team news, the guessing game continues as to whether Wiegman will opt for Fran Kirby or Lauren Hemp. The former was able to start in the final friendly against Switzerland, turning in just over an hour before being subbed off. Hemp actually started to her left. Lucy Bronze had to sit out the last test-match with a minor injury, but should be good to go for the opener.

While the devastating projected lineup of the three Lionesses remains perfectly intact, the Mädels of "Kleindeutschland have suffered a pair set-backs. Bundesliga legionaries Lisa Kolb and Maria Plattner have been ruled out for the tournament. In Plattner, out after fracturing her collarbone in training, the Austrians have lost at least one projected starter. 

What does that translate to? 


Probably not a particularly nice days for the guests. Though England barely scraped by this opponent 1-0 during a World Cup qualifying match last November, the safe money is on a high-scoring blowout here. 

May we all get treated to some thin akin to the World Cup opener there years ago. Loads of goals, please. Less Katy Perry on the stadium loudspeakers. Requested lodged. Please and thank you. 

THE LINE: England +3 Goals

Thursday, July 7th

Norway vs. Northern Ireland


Such a nice leisure start to this tournament. One match per day accords one the opportunity to let in all sink in. Those of us in the independent odd making game also get a chance to take a close look at Northern Ireland; otherwise known as the side we can't seem to figure out what to make of...yet. We'll certainly be rooting for the Unionists to show us something.

Signs point to a fairly big blowout her too, even if the Lady Irons find themselves buoyed by G.B. support within a sold-out St. Mary's. A projected 4-4-2 featuring Ada Hegerberg and Caroline Graham Hansen looks to be far too strong for the underdogs to handle, irrespective of all the talk about potential chemistry issues with Hegerberg's return. 

Yeah. Not looking so hot here for the Ulster Cross.

We're nevertheless set a tantalizing line.


THE LINE: Norway +2 Goals 

Friday, June 8th

Spain vs. Finland


Huge news on the Spanish front as it been revealed that the Alexia Putellas (otherwise known as the best female footballer on the planet) will miss the entire tournament with an ACL tear. Keep a close eye on this line gentlemen, as the bookie reserves the right to roll it in the dailies. As noted above in the introductory section above, this marks an enormous loss for all of us.

Bookie can still build the 4-3-3 without her, albeit by pushing Patricia Guijarro back and inserting Mariona Caldentey into the forward position. It's not a catastrophe. At least not yet. The Spaniards remain the favorites against the Russo-Nordics here. Furthermore, the player who takes Putellas' place (Real Sociedad phenom Amaiur Sarriegi) truly excites.

In point of fact, I found myself shocked when putting together the preview section that Sarriegi hadn't made the final cut. I had a "NextGen" profile all prepared for her, only to shockingly see that she was absent from the final roster. Still a very good team. 

The cynicism about the German women's prospects isn't lifting yet.

Ahem. Twenty-nine goals and 11 assists across all competitions for club and country for this 21-year-old from San Sebastian. Dammit. This actually may be going from bad to worse. 

THE LINE: Spain +1 Goal

Deutschland vs. Denmark


Not terribly fond of my the chances for my Mädels here, particularly not after learning today that Sara Däbritz might have to withdraw. Even if Däbritz's injury appears rather minor, we've enough problems as it is. How does one stop Pernille Harder without a functional CB duo?

One doesn't. I'm good and legitimately scared. Any German who recalls her time in the Frauenbundesliga should be. Without proper soundproofing in the central defensive corps, not to mention a keeper I've not seen consistently past tests, we're in deep trouble. 

When one considers our XI, I suppose it all comes down to a case of "In Lena Oberdorf we trust". As always, you're more than welcome to bet against the bookie if you so desire, but you're not getting a high line.

THE LINE: Pick em'

Saturday, July 9th

Portugal vs. Switzerland


A critical match for both teams in your early Saturday kickoff. Bookie very much recommends tuning  into this one in spite of the fact that the marquee counts as the real "can't miss affair". A Cinderella Tale could very well start in this fixture. The losing team could very well be hurtled into chaos.

If you'd care to learn a bit more about just how much chaos this Swiss are already in, there's a committed attempt by the bookie himself to re-order the lineup in some radical ways in the Preview Section. The last six fixtures of Nils Nielsen's side have been absolute carnage.

An energetic Selecao prepared to go for the jugular early could absolutely send this team into full meltdown. Note that this may be your best opportunity to take advantage of the bookie's inherent bias. I have a certain faith in Nielsen that perhaps I shouldn't have. 


Don't forget to keep an eye out for Portuguese #10 Silva.

THE LINE: Switzerland +1 Goal

Netherlands vs. Sweden


Here's your big Saturday night blockbuster. We'll get this clash of the titans out of the way early. Two of the tournament favorites square off immediately in what passes for the our "Group of Death". Given the amount of talent on each respective side, it's effectively impossible to pick a winner here. 

Recall that your friendly bookie only accorded Sweden a slight edge due to the fact that the certain elements of the Dutch side appear inchoate at this juncture. Such logic barely qualifies as logic at all when it comes to matters on the football pitch. Maybe in doesn't qualify as the best English either.

Can't wait to find out what happens here.

This one can't get here soon enough. 

Can't wait to find out what the "X-factor" has in store.

This match being fairly far out, we don't really have up-to-date injury information to influence the line. For now, you're free to jump in on other side. Be in touch though, as it will mostly surely roll. 

THE LINE: Pick em'

Sunday, June 10th

Belgium vs. Iceland


Everyone all up to speed on which "dottir" plays where? No? Okay. That's fine. The bookie took another look at it this morning...and immediately had to take a break. Think I ended up freaking out all the other morning walkers who had no idea why a man was muttering to himself in old Norwegian. Guess there aren't many other Icelandic women's footballing enthusiasts around here.  

A lot of aspects of these two teams tactically leave them evenly matched. Know that these "thunderclap girls" do not employ the type of defensive trap that their male counterparts routinely bore everyone with. They're a far more interesting crew. Bookie believes they'll score and believes that they'll win. 

THE LINE: Iceland +1 Goal 

France vs. Italy


No better way to wrap up the round than with one of Europe's best ever "border battles". This will be an exceptionally hard fought contest, with Corinne Diacre's (possibly horsewhipped) Bleaus doing all that they possibly can to shake off the negative media attention their own country invariably heaps on them an let it all out on the pitch. 

I think the "Donnas" have enough in them to keep it competitive for quite some time. Whether or not they can run with the pacey French for 90 minutes remains doubtful. At a certain point, the talent deficit will yield a defensive mishap. One, potentially, two late goals Les Feminine....or a disaster. That's always possible too. 

Friends (both gentlemen and ladies), the bookie must note here that he would very much liked to have watched this fixture with a certain professor of French and Italian Literature that would have truly gotten a kick out of it. Your bookie may need you a bit during this one. Emotional stuff.

Friends and football forever. 



Love each and every one of you.

Stronger together. Always.

THE LINE: France +2 Goals