England win opening game of Euro 2022 on a dramatic night in Manchester
ENGLAND 1 (Mead 16)
By Rio Rosenberg
Beth Mead got the Lionesses up and running with the only goal in a 1-0 win over Austria to kick off Euro 2022 at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
On a record-breaking night in Manchester, the Theatre of Dreams was packed with 68,871 fans, a record attendance for the UEFA Women’s European Championship.
England coach Sarina Wiegman knows that this game was decided by very few pivotal moments. However, she will be happy to secure the first win of the tournament and a clean sheet.
Georgia Stanway commanded the game, winning her individual duels and turning defence into attack, and was rewarded with the Player of the Match award. Another England player who stood out was Mary Earps, the Manchester United goalkeeper who made an important save towards the end of the game to stop Austria from snatching a draw and sharing the points.
The turning point came in the 16th minute when Mead got her campaign started with the first goal of the tournament. After a dramatic opening ceremony and tense start, the goal settled the nerves. Fran Kirby played a pass into the path of Mead who calmly got the ball under control and dinked it over her Arsenal teammate Manuela Zinsberger. Although the ball was cleared off the line via the underside of the crossbar, England’s players were certain it had crossed the line, which was confirmed by VAR. England’s fans inside Old Trafford erupted in celebration.
It went a little flat after that, with England sloppy at times and failing to link up as they would have liked in the final third. This caused nerves to rise towards the end as they protected a slim lead against the Austrians, whose standout player was right back Laura Weinroither. The Arsenal defender performed exceptionally well and kept Lauren Hemp at bay for the majority of the game.
The UEFA Women’s Euros has kicked off, a good start for England but a sterner test lies ahead with their game against Norway on Monday.