England got off to a successful start to their home EURO season when Beth Mead’s early goal secured a 1-0 win over Austria at a packed Old Trafford to kick off the tournament.
In a record crowd of 68,871, creating a buzzing atmosphere, Mead raised the noise level even more as she continued her fine goalscoring form by putting the Lionesses ahead in the 16th minute.
Lauren Hemp was then denied by a fine save by Manuela Zinsberger in first-half added time, while England and Manchester United goalkeeper Mary Earps saved a Barbara Dunst shot after the break.
After England extended their unbeaten record under coach Sarina Wiegman to a 13th win in 15 games, they take on Norway in Group A next Monday at the Amex Stadium.
Wiegman – the victorious coach at the last Euro 2017 with her native Netherlands now trying to guide England to a first major title – made two changes to her starting line-up with Lucy from last week’s 4-0 friendly win over Switzerland before bronze Returning to the team after illness.
Record goalscorer Ellen White also came into play as Alex Greenwood and Alessia Russo fell to the bench, while skipper Leah Williamson was again used in defense rather than midfield.
England got off to a somewhat nervous-looking start to the competition, with Austria – their other beaten Euro 2017 semi-finalists, ranked 21 in the world 13 places below them – winning a corner after an early misjudgment by Williamson.
White and Hemp then saw headers, saved and missed respectively, before the hosts took the lead as Fran Kirby played into Mead and she lifted a try over her Arsenal teammate Zinsberger.
Carina Wenninger tried to intervene by kicking an attempted free-kick against the bar, but the ball had already crossed the line and match officials confirmed Mead’s first goal of the tournament – her 15th for England since the start of the 2021/22 season – when a deafening roar went through the stadium.
White had a chance to double the advantage about 10 minutes later when she scored in front of goal with Hemp’s cross, but her header went wide.
After Verena Hanshaw threw a try into the stands at the other end and White missed another try with his head, Hemp, pinned by Kirby, was then thwarted by a nice save from Zinsberger as her shot deflected over the bar .
In the early stages of the second half there was a shot from Kirby, which was collected by Zinsberger and Georgia Stanway, and both sides of Katharina Naschenweng missed a shot on the English goal.
Wiegman then made a treble, bringing in United duo Russo and Ella Toone and Chloe Kelly for White, Kirby and Mead.
Russo failed to make proper contact as she attempted to fire into the box from a Hemp free-kick and Kelly advanced from the center line and hit wide.
Earps then dove to her left to parry a shot from Dunst in the 78th minute and made another save to deal with a try from substitute Julia Hickelsberger-Fuller as England saw the win.
https://www.independent.ie/sport/soccer/euro-2020/beth-mead-scores-winner-as-england-start-home-euros-with-victory-over-austria-41819822.html Beth Mead wins as England start home EURO with a win over Austria