The 2022 Women's Euro gets under way at Old Trafford on Wednesday July 6 as England take on Austria; the tournament culminates with the final at Wembley Stadium on Sunday July 31
Thursday 16 June 2022 06:00, UK
Former England Women captain Steph Houghton has been left out of Sarina Wiegman's final 23-player squad for this summer's Euro 2022 tournament, but Chelsea striker Fran Kirby has been selected.
Kirby missed the second half of the Women's Super League season with fatigue, but did return to Emma Hayes' squad for May's FA Cup final against Man City, despite not making it onto the pitch.
Defender Houghton has been struggling with an Achilles injury all season, having not featured since January, and will be absent for the first time in five major tournaments.
The Lionesses will instead be led by captain Leah Williamson and supported by vice-captains Millie Bright and Ellen White - the striker is England's all-time leading goalscorer on 50 goals and will be making her third consecutive Euro appearance.
Forward Chloe Kelly has also made the cut, despite only recently recovering from an ACL injury, and is one of nine players embarking on their first major tournament.
Houghton joins Lucy Staniforth - also returning from long-term injury - as well as Sandy MacIver, Niamh Charles and Katie Zelem on the list of players who have been left out of the final 23, but changes can be made up until June 26.
Wiegman said: "It was a hard decision, but she's just not ready to compete. We set a plan in place with her for her, and she did everything she could do, we supported her as well as possible.
"She's in a very good place but just not ready to compete, I think. It's a matter of time, and we don't have that time.
"It was really hard. It's hard for every player we had to disappoint, but of course for such a big player with such a big impact on the England game, she did everything - but other players do everything too.
"Of course, she was very disappointed and I know she did everything to make it, so she wasn't happy, but she took the arguments I gave her and then we left it for now."
Head coach Wiegman added: "I am excited by what is possible for this group. We all know this is a huge opportunity and it is one we have to grab with both hands. The chance to represent the nation on such a big stage on home soil is one to relish.
"Togetherness is a big part of what we are all about and from every player in the squad to my superb support team, and with the strong backing of everyone at The FA and our fans, we are committed to make it a summer to remember."
Anton Toloui, Sky Sports News' England reporter:
In order to win a major tournament you can't shirk the big decisions and in picking her final squad for Euro 2022 Sarina Wiegman has shown her ruthless side.
Picking Steph Houghton would have been the safe pick, leaning on the old adage coaches love about "you can't have too much experience" in a squad.
Wiegman, however, is adamant - England don't need the former captain if she isn't fully match fit.
Every coach and player I spoke to, including a few players in the England camp, set out the reasons why Steph Houghton should be in the squad. Her tournament experience, her exemplary defensive record, her set-piece ability and the fact she's respected in the squad.
But Wiegman is going her own way, which is exactly why The FA hired her. She was brought in after leading Netherlands to glory at a home Euros in 2017, she's being backed to do the same this summer in England.
With hindsight, as soon as England named a new leadership group in April, Houghton's inclusion in the squad became unlikely. Leah Williamson was named the new captain and has a different style of leadership to Houghton. Millie Bright and Ellen White were picked as the No.2 and 3 skippers, ushering in a new era after Houghton wore the armband for seven years.
Knowing this it's hardly a surprise Houghton, or any of the players omitted from the provisional squad, will not be staying on the with the squad during the warm-up games. This is Wiegman's squad, no one else is required unless she needs them.
It's Weigman's way, it's worked before and England have already seen an upturn in results since she joined. Now the pressure's on to deliver, something the head coach and her squad hope to thrive on.
Keep up with all the latest from Euro 2022 across Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Coverage will be anchored by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker, alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will give analysis throughout the tournament.
They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
The pundits and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women's Euro 2022 Mobile Presentation Bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team around the country to the various stadiums where matches are being played.
In addition, Sky Sports' Essential Football Podcast will be rebranded for the tournament to Sky Sports Women's Euros Podcast rom 21 June. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a strong programme line up around the tournament.
Group A: England, Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland
Group B: Germany, Denmark, Spain, Finland
Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland
Group D: France, Italy, Belgium, Iceland
Wednesday July 6
Group A: England vs Austria - kick off 8pm, Old Trafford
Thursday July 7
Group A: Norway vs Northern Ireland - kick off 8pm, St Mary's
Friday July 8
Group B: Spain vs Finland - kick off 5pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany vs Denmark - kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Saturday July 9
Group C: Portugal vs Switzerland - kick off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Group C: Netherlands vs Sweden - kick off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Sunday July 10
Group D: Belgium vs Iceland - kick off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Italy - kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Monday July 11
Group A: Austria vs Northern Ireland - kick off 5pm, St Mary's
Group A: England v Norway - kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Tuesday July 12
Group B: Denmark vs Finland - kick off 5pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany vs Spain - kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Wednesday July 13
Group C: Sweden vs Switzerland - kick off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Netherlands v Portugal - kick off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Thursday July 14
Group D: Italy vs Iceland - kick off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Belgium - kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Friday July 15
Group A: Northern Ireland v England - kick off 8pm, St Mary's
Group A: Austria vs Norway - kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Saturday July 16
Group B: Finland vs Germany - kick off 8pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Denmark vs Spain - kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Sunday July 17
Group C: Switzerland vs Netherlands - kick off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Sweden vs Portugal - kick off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Monday July 18
Group D: Iceland vs France - kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Group D: Italy vs Belgium - kick off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Wednesday July 20
Quarter-final 1: Winners Group A v Runners-up Group B - kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Thursday July 21
Quarter-final 2: Winners Group B v Runners-up Group A - kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Friday July 22
Quarter-final 3: Winners Group C v Runners-up Group D - kick off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Quarter-final 4: Winners Group D v Runners-up Group C - kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Tuesday July 26
Semi-final 1: Winners quarter-final 1 v Winners quarter-final 3 - kick off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Wednesday July 27
Semi-final 2: Winners quarter-final 2 v Winners quarter-final 4 - kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
Sunday July 31
Winners semi-final 1 v Winners semi-final 2 - kick off 5pm, Wembley