England have made a winning start to the UEFA Women’s EURO by beating Austria 1-0 at Old Trafford this evening.
Beth Mead’s first half goal proved to be the difference as England battled to a gritty victory in front of a UEFA Women’s EURO record crowd of 68,871 at ‘The Theatre of Dreams’.
England looked a little nervous in what was a cagey opening. The Lionesses needed a goal to settle the nerves and they got it on 16 minutes when Fran Kirby’s ball over the top found Mead who lobbed Austrian goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger from 12 yards. VAR was called in to determine whether the ball had fully crossed the line but the goal was given.
Sarina Wiegman’s side should have been two goals to the good just before the half-hour mark but Ellen White somehow headed wide when in a great position to score. Lauren Hemp then found herself one-on-one with Zinsberger but the Austrian came out big and made a huge block.
The first half was one of few quality goalscoring chances and the start of the second half was even less eventful with England still struggling to find their rhythm. Kirby saw a tame effort gathered by Zinsberger before Georgia Stanway fired wide when under pressure from an Austrian defender.
England substitute Chloe Kelly then dragged a shot wide after charging towards goal before Barbara Dunst’s long range effort was pushed to safety by England keeper Mary Earps at the other end.
Austria seemed to grow in confidence as the game went on with substitute Julia Hickelsberger-Füller also going close but they were unable to find an equaliser as England held on for the three points.
England will now turn their attentions to Norway on Monday while Austria must look to recover against Northern Ireland.