11 facts about this summer's football

Although no men's World Cup or EURO is taking place, this summer's football calendar is nonetheless looking jam-packed. Fans of the beautiful game have the Women's World Cup, the final four of the National League, EURO qualifiers and the U21 EURO to look forward to. Here gives you an overview of all the action.


The Women's World Cup will take place in France from 7 June to 7 July. The 24 nations hoping to be crowned world champions are divided into six groups. Germany are in Group B and will face China (08 June/Rennes), Spain (12 June/Valenciennes) and South Africa (17 June/Montpellier).


The action will be spread out across nine cities: Paris, Nice, Grenoble, Reims, Rennes, Valenciennes, Montpellier, Lyon and Le Havre. The final is taking place at the Groupama Stadium in Lyon - one of the stops on TSG Hoffenheim's Champions League journey last season. 



 The U.S.A. are the defending champions, having triumphed at the 2015 edition held in Canada. This was their third World Cup win, meaning they hold the record for most titles won. Germany are second-placed in the all-time leaderboard thanks to their successes in 2003 and 2007. 


Ballon d'Or winner Ada Hegerberg, who plays her club football for Olympique Lyon, will not be present at the Women's World Cup. The 23-year-old Norwegian took a step back from international football in 2017, citing a lack of professionalism in the women's game in the country as her reason for doing so. She remained unmoved by the Norwegian association's announcement that the men and women's teams would receive equal pay. Hegerberg is hoping to see women's football professionalised at all levels: ''Football is the most popular sport in Norway for both boys and girls, but girls don't get the same chances that the boys do.'''


The Final Four of the UEFA Nations League, which will take place in Portugal between 5 and 9 June, promises to be another highlight of the summer. The tournament will be contested by the winners of the four Nations League A groups: hosts Portugal, who will face Switzerland in the first semi-final in Porto on 5 June, as well as the Netherlands, who will face England in Guimaraes on 6 June.


The final will take place in Porto on 9 June, while the third-place play-off is being held in Guimaraes on the same day. None of the final four have booked their places at the 2020 EURO - qualification through the Nations League will be decided via play-offs next year. 


Defeat to the Netherlands meant Germany missed out on a place in the Final Four. Nonetheless, the tournament is still interesting from a TSG perspective: TSG player Steven Zuber, currently out on loan at VfB Stuttgart, and ex-Hoffenheimer Fabian Schär, now playing for Newcastle United, are both in the Swiss squad for the Final Four, while former TSG player Ryan Babel is part of the Dutch squad.


Despite missing out on the Nations League, the German national team are still in action this summer, with two EURO qualifiers on the agenda for June. Germany (with Nico Schulz in tow) will travel to Belarus on 8 June, then host Estonia three days later. 


The Germany U21 side, 2017 European champions, face a tough task as they look to defend their title at the U21 EURO being held in Italy and San Marino from 16 to 30 June. TSG players Nadiem Amiri, Christoph Baumgartner and Reiss Nelson will all be present at the tournament. 


This year, for the first time ever, the Africa Cup of Nations is taking place in summer. That's not the only first for the tournament being held in Egypt from 21 June to 19 August: 24 teams will compete for glory instead of 16 as at previous editions. 


There are hopes that TSG defender Kasim Adams may be able to recover from injury in time to be named in the Ghana squad for the tournament. The ''Black Stars'' have been drawn in Group F alongside Benin, Cameroon and Guinea-Bissau.

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