England and Spain have never met in the round of 16 of a major women’s tournament, but when the pair meet in the quarter-finals of Euro 2022, it will be familiar territory for Lucy Bronze.
Five years earlier England beat France 1-0 in the last eight of Euro 2017 and just over a fortnight later Bronze’s move to European heavyweight Lyon was announced.
Eight members of France’s Euro 2017 squad have played their club football in Lyon, while nine of Spain’s 23 players represent Barcelona domestically – the team Bronze joined ahead of Euro 2022.
“Yes definitely [looking forward to it]”Bronze said of Wednesday’s quarter-final. “I can’t say that I personally know any of them (Barcelona’s Spanish players). But it will be good to play against them.
“It’s funny because the last Euros I played against France and we knocked them out and I moved to Lyon a few weeks later, so I’ve been through that tricky situation before.
“Anyway, I’m pretty excited for the game and either way the team is going to have some world-class players that we have to stop, whether they’re team-mates, ex-team-mates, whatever. We’re just excited for it.”
England qualified for the round of 16 by taking the lead in their group with three wins from three. The Lionesses have scored 14 goals in their three matches – with their 8-0 win over Norway setting a new European Championship record – and are yet to concede.
However, Bronze stressed the importance of not getting carried away with team form as anything can happen in the knockout stages of the football tournament.
“To be honest, the quarter-finals are a one-off game, so whatever form there is is who comes up on the day,” added the right-back. “We had good last two games but narrowly edged Austria so we have to come out and do our best no matter who we face in the quarter-finals.
“The opposing team could also show up and have an amazing game. So we have to put our form to bed now. We can celebrate, we had a lot of records and goals, but that’s it – a quarter-final is a quarter-final.”