The English “Lionesses” provided the essentials for the start of their Euro 2022. Thanks to a goal from Beth Mead (16th), the Arsenal striker, England won by the smallest of margins against Austria, Wednesday evening at Old Trafford for the first match of group A (1-0). They did not shine in the game, but Sarina Wiegman’s players managed to enter the competition, which they hope to win in front of their audience. Their clash against Ada Hegerberg’s Norway next Monday should be a different story.
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After a series of very successful warm-up matches including a resounding victory against the reigning European champions Dutch (5-1), the teammates of Lucy Bronze, the former player of Olympique Lyonnais, arrived in full confidence at the Euro 2022 held in England. Led by Sarina Wiegman, the Dutch coach who led the Oranje to the title 5 years ago, the English quickly settled into the Austrian half.
An early goal from Mead… and that’s it
After a first free chance not framed by Lauren Hemp, the most anticipated talent of the Lionesses in this Euro (13th), England opened the scoring 3 minutes later, on a subtle lob from Beth Mead (1-0, 16th ) in front of goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger. They could even have returned to the locker room with a greater advantage if Ellen White (26th) and especially Hemp (23rd, 45th + 1) had been more skilful.
If the Austrians were technically inferior, the pressing put in place by their coach Irene Fuhrmann was very effective and considerably hampered the English in the game. They struggled to frame their chances in the second half despite the support of 68,871 spectators, new historic attendance record for a Women’s Euro football match.
The teammates of Lauren Hemp, author of a very uneven performance this evening, even trembled at the end of the match, when Barbara Dunst put goalkeeper Mary Earps to work (78th). The coming days will necessarily require a rise in power from the Wiegman players if they want to claim final victory.
From Monday evening, the English Lionesses will face the Norway of Ada Hegerberg, in Brighton. Norwegians and Northern Irish will face each other this Thursday for the second match of this Euro in Southampton (9:00 p.m.). A match that promises to be important in the quest for 1st place in the group.
Beth Mead celebrates her goal during the game England – Austria (1-0)
Credit: Getty Images
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