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Women’s European Championship enters new dimensions

More spectators, more prize money, more favourites: The hype surrounding the Women’s European Championship is huge. The tournament, which starts on Wednesday, is said to go down in history as the best so far.

Wednesday evening, Old Trafford, more than 71,000 spectators: The start of the European Women’s Championship will be given in front of a record crowd in the Theater of Dreams.

The legendary football temple, the magical place where Cristiano Ronaldo chased the ball to the end, was chosen with care. The finals in England will be a tournament of superlatives – women’s football is entering new dimensions.

The upcoming EURO, emphasized national coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg in the “FAZ” interview, means “a huge opportunity to show extremely attractive sport on a big stage. To draw attention to women’s football and to take the next steps.” And Joti Chatzialexiou, sporting director for national teams, says: “England invests a lot in women’s football. That’s why this tournament is at the right time in this country.”

The opening game (9 p.m. / ARD and DAZN) between hosts England and Austria alone delivers a quantum leap. The previous audience record for a European Championship game from the 2013 final (41,301 in Solna, Sweden) will be pulverized – and should only last a few weeks. Over 87,000 tickets are already sold out for this year’s final on July 31 in Wembley.

500,000 tickets sold

In general, more than 500,000 tickets have been sold for the 31 European Championship games before the first kick-off. For comparison: five years ago in the Netherlands there were around 240,000 after the tournament. Something is happening in women’s football – also in terms of payment.

The prize money for the 16 participating teams was doubled by UEFA this year to 16 million euros. And, what’s more, the discussion in the associations about equal pay, ie the same financial compensation for men’s and women’s national teams, is on the agenda.

But above all on the lawn, the spectacle on the island should put the past tournaments in the shade. It’s not just Voss-Tecklenburg who believes “that it will be the closest and highest-quality European Championship in terms of sport”. The times when it was practically only about second place behind record European champions Germany (eight EM triumphs) are long gone.

Eight nations with title potential

This time, with Spain, England, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and the German team, eight teams have the potential to make it big. “It has never existed in this form, at least from my sporting perspective,” says Voss-Tecklenburg.

Great sport is guaranteed when exceptional talents like Spain’s Alexia Putellas, Norway’s goalscorer Ada Hegerberg or Danish ex-Wolfsburg player Pernille Harder get started on Wednesday. You can also be excited about the DFB team.

Even if the national coach struggles before the DFB start on Friday (9 p.m. / ZDF and DAZN) against Denmark, who came second in the European Championship, with a declaration of war. There wasn’t much to see of the dominance of earlier years, at the last European Championship and World Cup it was over in the quarterfinals. “We want to get the maximum and stay until the end,” says Chatzialexiou and lives the optimism himself: “I packed for 28 days.”

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