The Women’s Euros – what have we learned from the opening round of fixtures?



 

By Andrew Crawshaw

Last night’s match between France and Italy was the last of the first round of group matches.   This afternoon the focus switches to the second round with Austria v Northern Ireland  at St Mary’s kicking off at 17:00 and England v Norway at Brighton’s Falmer Stadium at 20:00.

Both matches are live on BBC1, the England game again with an Arsenal centric studio team of Alex Scott, Ian Wright and Jonas Eidevall providing the analysis.

The first round matches were

Group A

England 1 v Austria 0 – a game with few clear chances.  Arsenal’s Beth Mead with the only goal of the game, a delightful lob over club colleague Manuella Zinsberger who then showed why she was awarded the WSL golden glove last season as she kept out England’s attackers for the rest of the game.

Northern Ireland 1 v Norway 4 – as expected Northern Ireland were outclassed for the majority of this match.  Norway were firm favourites going into the game and lived up to expectations.  Northern Ireland were disappointed but, in truth, their main achievement was to reach this stage of the competition.  Their goal was probably as much as they could have expected against a team with a far higher ranking.  Ex Gunner Frida Maanum got the second Norway goal.

Group B

Spain 4 v Finland 1 – Finland got off to a flier scoring in the opening minute and caused all sorts of problems for the Spanish team in the opening quarter of an hour. Thereafter Spain gained their composure and gained the ascendency with two goals in the last 20 minutes of the first half following that up with two unanswered goals in the second half.

Germany 4 v Denmark 0 – never count the Germans out of any International competition was the mantra in the men’s game a few years ago. With this performance, they showed that it also applies in the Women’s game today.  One goal mid-way through the first half was followed by three more in the second half.  Denmark’s evening was further ruined by a stoppage-time red card for Møller Kühl

Group C

Portugal 2 v Switzerland 2 – a proverbial game of two halves.  The Swiss were all over Portugal at the start and were two goals up in the first 5 minutes thanks to strikes from Sow and Kiwic.  Portugal rallied as the half went on ensuring that the halftime scoreline didn’t get any worse.  In the second half there were the more dominant team scoring two unanswered goals to tie the game, probably the right result on the balance of play.  Our Lia Wälti earned her 100th Swiss cap captaining the side until she was substituted in injury time at the end of the game.

Netherlands 1 v Sweden 1 – like the earlier game in the group a game of two halves.  The Netherlands had a nightmare start when their goalkeeper, Sari van Veenendaal (another ex Gunner) had a rush of blood to her head in deciding to come for a cross, clattered into two of her team mates and ended up having to come off with what looked like a serious injury as did one of the defenders with whom she collided.  Sari was replaced by a much less experienced goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar who will now probably retain her place for the remainder of the group stage games at least.  Not surprisingly after that incident The Netherlands were extremely rattled and Sweden took the lead through Anderson shortly after the half hour mark. In the second half the Netherlands rallied with Vivianne Miedema leading the fight back.  Their equalising goal was scored by another ex Gunner, Jill Roord (I was sorry when she left, although we never seemed to know how to get the best from her).  The final stats had possession as 50/50 and 4 shots on target to each team so again a draw was probably the right result on the night.

Group D

Belgium 1 v Iceland 1 – this game was played at the Manchester City Academy stadium with a capacity of only just over 4,000 seats, by far the smallest stadium to be used.  Not quite a sellout but judging from the sound on the TV a cracking atmosphere.  The Icelandic Prime Minister among the 2,000 or so travelling Icelandic supporters.  It was a cagey game, both teams struggling to retain possession and chances were relatively few and far between.  Neither team looked likely to feature in the later stages without improving in their subsequent matches.  A draw the right result on the day.

France 5 v Italy 1 – an absolutely dominant first half performance by France who were five nil up at half time.  Midfielder Grace Geyoro with a hat-trick to lay down an early case for the golden boot award.   The other goals were from forwards Katoto and Cascarino.  Italy got a second half consolation goal from substitute Piemonte but it was all to little and too late.

So what have we learned?

  • In Group A – England had a cagey start with a narrow win, Northern Ireland look doomed to last place. England still favourites to win the group from either Austria or Norway (who play each other in the final round of group games on Friday)

 

  • In Group B – with emphatic wins, both Germany and Spain are firm favourites to reach the knockout stage of the competition.

 

  • In Group C no clear cut early favourites have emerged. Both opening matches were drawn and there were no outstanding team performances.  This group is wide open.

 

  • In Group D France laid down a real statement of intent with a 5 goal demolition of Italy who will have to show real resilience in their next match if they are to progress.

 

  • The grounds have generally been OK, the Manchester City Academy stadium does feel too small, although it delivered a great atmosphere. Surely the Manchester area could have found an alternative 10 to 20,000 capacity ground that could have been used.  Old Trafford was sold out for the tournament opener as is Wembley for the final and The South Coast stadia for the England games.  Tickets are available for the other games.

 

Overall, a good start, hopefully teams will have settled down for this next round of matches and that will show in the football.

5 Replies to “The Women’s Euros – what have we learned from the opening round of fixtures?”

  1. Austria beat Northern Ireland 2-0 in the early evening game.

    England team

    Mary Earps
    Lucy Bronze, Millie Bright, Leah Williamson, Rachel Daly
    Georgia Stanway, Kiera Walsh
    Fran Kirby
    Beth Mead, Ellen White, Lauren Hemp

    Nikita Parris is among the substitutes.

  2. Emgland winning 6 – 0 at half time. Beth Mead having a blinder with two great goals.

  3. Final score 8-0, Beth Mead with a hat-trick and England qualify as group winners irrespective of the results in the third round of games. Job done. Beth Mead absolutely unplayable today.

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