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Women's Euro 2022 predictions: Dutch hoping to overcome Swedes
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Bobbie Jackson
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Netherlands will be hopeful Vivianne Miedema can fire them to a successful title defence
Netherlands will be hopeful Vivianne Miedema can fire them to a successful title defence

Defending champions Netherlands begin their Women's Euro 2022 campaign tonight when they take on Sweden. 

That is one of two games scheduled for Matchday 4, with Portugal and Switzerland set to clash a few hours earlier. 

Portugal vs Switzerland (Saturday, 5pm)

Portugal and Switzerland both made their Euro debuts five years ago and they both failed to progress beyond the group stage.

But they exited the 2017 edition with their heads held high, with Switzerland falling just a point short of advancing to the quarter-finals, while Portugal narrowly missed out on a last-eight berth on an inferior head-to-head record.

Getting out of Group C is likely to prove tough with holders Netherlands and much-fancied Sweden favourites to take the top two spots, so picking up a win in this opener is crucial. 

Portugal were late additions to the tournament, after being handed a spot at the expense of Russia, who they lost to in a qualification play-off, but they head to Leigh Sports Village for the clash in good form and unbeaten in four games. 

Switzerland, who beat the Czech Republic on penalties to secure their spot via a play-off, cannot call on positive form after failing to win in six matches. 

Nils Nielsen's side have lost each of their last three without scoring a goal and have been thumped 7-0 and 4-0 by Germany and England respectively in that sequence. 

The most recent meeting between Portugal and Switzerland came in 2019 when the latter ran out 3-1 winners in the Algarve Cup. 

Form suggests Portugal should come through but Switzerland can call on a vast amount of experience on the pitch and in the dugout. 

Coach Nielsen led Denmark to the 2017 final and he has Barcelona star forward Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic and Paris Saint-Germain No10 Ramona Bachmann in his ranks. 

Nils Nielsen led Denmark all the way to the Women's European Championship final in 2017
Nils Nielsen led Denmark all the way to the Women's European Championship final in 2017

Netherlands vs Sweden (Saturday, 8pm)

At the other end of the spectrum, Saturday's late game at Bramall Lane pits two teams who both hold serious hopes of reaching the final at Wembley on July 31 against each other. 

Netherlands won their maiden crown in 2017 as hosts, breaking Germany's run of six successive tournament victories. 

Now, with a target on their back, they face a tough task in trying to repeat that feat and tonight's meeting with Sweden will give a good indication as to where they are at. 

Sweden won the first-ever European Championship in 1984 and they have reached the final on a further three occasions — most recently in 2001. 

This is a repeat of the 2017 quarter-final when the Dutch won 2-0 and the Oranje have since followed that up with an extra-time victory in the semi-finals of the 2019 World Cup. 

Netherlands' preparations for the tournament have been far from perfect, though the 5-1 defeat to England was followed by wins over Belarus and Finland.

Vivianne Miedema is the all-time record goalscorer for the Netherlands, netting 94 times, and after registering on four occasions at Euro 2017, she could be a key figure.

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Tags

PortugalSwitzerlandSwedenNetherlandsWomen’s Euro 2022
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