UEFA Women’s Championship: England beat Austria to open tournament

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Beth Mead scored the only goal of the game as hosts England beat Austria 1–0 at Old Trafford in front of a tournament-record crowd of 68,871. Women’s European Championship Opener on Wednesday.

Mead skillfully bowled the ball over Austrian goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger in the 16th minute, but it needed goal-line technique to prove that it had crossed the boundary before it was cleared.

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Beth Mead of England celebrates scoring the opening goal during the Women’s Euro 2022 football match between England and Austria at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, on Wednesday, July 6, 2022.
(Martin Ricketts/PA via AP)

Mead told the BBC: “What a wonderful night, it’s great to start the tournament with a win and I’m happy to have scored a goal for my team.” “I was pretty sure it was over (line) but you always doubt yourself.”

The narrow margin of victory reflected a close game in which England dominated, but could not create enough clear chances to match their more solid pre-tournament victories over teams such as Belgium, Denmark and defending champions Netherlands.

The 16-team tournament started a year later than originally scheduled because coronavirus pandemic, It is hoped that this will lead to a rapidly growing audience for women’s football in Europe, and UEFA has said that over 500,000 tickets have been sold. The previous record attendance for a European Championship game was 41,301 for the 2013 final between Germany and Norway at the Friends Arena in Stockholm.

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Beth Mead, center, of England celebrates with Ellen White, left and Georgia Stanaway after scoring the opening goal during the Women's Euro 2022 football match between England and Austria at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Wednesday, July 6, 2022 .

Beth Mead, center, of England celebrates with Ellen White, left and Georgia Stanaway after scoring the opening goal during the Women’s Euro 2022 football match between England and Austria at Old Trafford in Manchester, England, Wednesday, July 6, 2022 .
(AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

Since the last tournament in 2017 England has It was at the forefront of that growth as Women’s Super League clubs signed many of the world’s best players and grew revenue and TV viewership. Now unbeaten in 15 matches compared to last year, the England national team is still on the hunt for the first major tournament title.

Austria was a surprise semifinalist in their previous appearance at the 2017 European Championship, when they conceded one goal in five games and only lost in a penalty shootout.

England goalkeeper Mary Arps kept Austria from getting a point on Wednesday when she dived across the stretch in the 78th to block a dangerous curling shot from Barbara Dunst.

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Girls wave flags on the pitch during the opening ceremony before the inaugural football match of the Women's Euro 2022 between England and Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday, July 6, 2022 in Manchester, England.

Girls wave flags on the pitch during the opening ceremony before the inaugural football match of the Women’s Euro 2022 between England and Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday, July 6, 2022 in Manchester, England.
(AP Photo/Rui Vieira)

England could have scored more runs first when Ellen White led wide on 26th and Ginsburger reacted quickly to block Lauren Hemp’s effort in first-half stoppage time.

“We should have scored twice to make it easier, but overall I am very happy. We have a win, and don’t underestimate Austria – they are a very well organized team,” said England manager Sarina Wigman. who coached the Netherlands to the 2017 title, told the BBC. “I’m not discouraged, I think we can do better. Sometimes we run. We have to calm down a little bit in the final stages.”