The women's European Championship is the main competition in ladies football held by UEFA, it is staged every four years the same as the equivalent men's competition.  The Euro Championships were first held in 1984, this is the last year in which the finals will be contested between twelve teams, from 2017 there will be sixteen teams due to the increasing popularity of ladies football across Europe.  The last ten competitions have produced only three different winning countries, Germany have won on seven occasions, Norway twice and Sweden once, England have reached the finals twice being crowned runners up in 1984 and 2009.  The Euro 2013 Championships begin this week and are being held in Sweden.

The England women's squad have been drawn in group C against France, Russia and Spain, this is a difficult group and Alex Scott, who will be playing in Sweden has said that 'the first challenge will be getting out of the group stage'.  The ladies team qualified for the championships in an amazing display in which they went unbeaten in every game, showing what a strong squad they are and hinting at the potential to progress strongly throughout the finals.  The 23 women who will proudly wear their England shirts have an unprecedented level of experience, there are only two new uncapped players, Rachel Brown and Kelly Smith who play their league football for Everton and Arsenal respectively will each be playing in their sixth major competition, seven of the ladies will be playing in their fifth tournament and there are four players with over 100 international caps each.

Women's football is steadily increasing in popularity both as a player sport and for spectators.  During the Olympics a ladies match between Brazil and England attracted an audience of 70,000 spectators, this is an impressive turnout and certainly upped the profile of the sport.  The FA WSL is the top-flight of women's football in England, it replaced the FA Women's Premier League in 2011 and is currently contested between eight teams, from 2014 this will be extended again due to the increasing popularity of the sport.  As of 2014 there will also be a FA WSL 2, each league will contain 8-10 teams with a system of promotion and relegation introduced.  For the last two seasons Arsenal have won the FA WSL, 6 of the 23 England Women's shirts will be worn by Arsenal ladies players.

Germany has dominated this competition over the years and has won the last five tournaments, however can they do it again? Several of the key German players will not be taking part due to injury opening up an opportunity for their rivals.  Germany's past history makes them the clear favourites to win with France, Sweden and England ranked 2nd, 3rd and 4th behind.  If England can progress past the group stages they should be in with a fighting chance of improving on last years result and winning the final, the strong and experienced side are focused on playing to the best of their ability and will take each match as it comes.

Do you think the England Ladies team can win the Euro 2013 Championships?

What do you think about the increasing popularity of women's football?

Support our national side and order your England womens shirt from Soccerbox, ready for the Euro 2013 championships that kick off tomorrow.