Host nation England has narrowly defeated a stubborn Austrian side 1-0 to kick off the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.

The tournament’s opening ceremony was colourful, celebrating the rise of women’s football in Europe, before the teams faced off.

England’s Lionesses came into the Euros on a good run of form having defeated defending champions the Netherlands 5-1 in a pre-tournament friendly, but the visitors had also only lost once in their past five games.

The Lionesses have not won any major international tournament coming into this one and have not gone past the quarter-finals, while Austria was a semi-finalist at the last Euros, where they were knocked out by Denmark.

In front of a sell-out crowd of 68,871 at Old Trafford in Manchester, England’s Beth Mead scored the opening goal of the tournament in the 15th minute when she chipped Austria’s goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger bringing her nation’s goal tally to 23 in 40 appearances, despite the host nation’s nervy start.

We have a plan, and we play every game to win.

England manager, Sarina Wiegman emphasised the importance of winning the opening game of the tournament they are playing in but also stated that all of the other games matter as well to give confidence to the entire team.

“A good start helps because it gives confidence to the team and so now to the next game,” Wiegman said. “We want to win all the games but [it’s] very nice to have the three points in the pocket to go the next game otherwise there’s more pressure on that game too and that’s not what you want.

“We have a plan, and we play every game to win [but] a good start really helps the team.”

Zinsberger committed a double save in the closing minutes of the first half to deny the Lionesses’ second goal when the Austrian made herself big and stopped on-form winger Lauren Hemp from scoring.


Austria’s Viktoria Schnaderbeck had a disappointing first half and was ineffective and brought off for Marina Georgieva in the 77th minute.

England created the most chances and had more shots on target in the game, five compared to Austria’s conservative gameplay of just two shots. The host nation dominated ball possession 60 per cent to 40 per cent.

Austria’s chances were limited in the first half and the team did not create enough opportunities to trouble England’s Mary Earps, with their first one coming in the opening minutes of the game while the next was in the 32nd minute.

Austria was the first team to utilise their bench and decided to change things to try getting back in the game and subbed on Julia Hickelsberger for Katharina Elisa Naschenweng in the 59th minute.

The Lionesses followed suit and brought on Ella Toone for Fran Kirby. Alessia Russo came on in the second for England’s all-time goal scorer Ellen White, and Chloe Kelly was subbed on for opening tournament goal scorer Mead in the 62nd minute.

At the end of the day we are leaving with zero points and that’s a bit disappointing.

The visitors in the 79th minute started dominating ball possession and committed a save from Earps who was largely unbothered by the state of play both in the first and second half.

The Austrians committed their final substitution of the game when they brought on Marie Höbinger for Laura Feiersinger in the 87th minute.

Austria manager Irene Fuhrmann praised the resolve her team showed but emphasised the need to win the Northern Ireland game and have a chance to qualify from the group stages.

“I am very proud of our performance and the way we played [but] at the end of the day we are leaving with zero points and that’s a bit disappointing,” she said.

“In the second half we showed a really good reaction, offensively especially, we showed courage, we had huge chances to score but of course, England dominated the game over many phases, therefore, deserved the win.”

The Lionesses next face Norway, the other favourites to win the tournament in their second group stages match on July 12, while the wounded Austrians will meet Northern Ireland.

Main image screenshot.