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Hosts raise a glass to Mead as Euro 2022 gets off to a record-breaking start

England’s Leah Williamson (right) and goalkeeper Mary Earps celebrate after the decisive goal (Nick Potts/PA)
England’s Leah Williamson (right) and goalkeeper Mary Earps celebrate after the decisive goal (Nick Potts/PA)

Beth Mead scored the only goal as hosts England got their Euro 2022 campaign off to a flying start with a 1-0 victory over Austria.

The Arsenal forward netted after 16 minutes in front of a record and exuberant crowd in the opening Group A fixture at Old Trafford.

The celebrations were delayed slightly as goalline technology was required to judge whether Mead’s lob and had crossed the line before Carina Wenninger’s attempted clearance hit the bar but the goal was given.

Lauren Hemp went close to adding a second while goalkeeper Mary Earps denied Austria’s Barbara Dunst after the break.

England, who are now unbeaten with 13 wins from 15 games under manager Sarina Wiegman, continue their campaign when they face Norway at the Amex Stadium next Monday.

Stat of the day

The crowd of 68,871 at Old Trafford set a new record for a crowd at a women’s Euros match. The previous highest was 41,301 for the 2013 final between Germany and Norway in Stockholm.

Shot of the day

Beth Mead celebrates her decisive goal against Austria
Beth Mead celebrates her decisive goal against Austria (Martin Rickett/PA)

Quote of the day

England chasing first Euro crown

England are one of the favourites but they would be breaking new ground if they win the tournament. Their two best performances in the event to date were runners-up finishes in 1984 and 2009.

England's record in Women's Euros
England’s record in Women’s Euros (PA Graphics)

Northern Ireland ready for action

Captain Marissa Callaghan insists Northern Ireland are not making up numbers as she prepares to lead her country into their first major tournament.

The veteran Cliftonville midfielder has declared herself fit and ready for Thursday’s clash with Norway in Southampton after making a rapid recovery from a broken foot.

Northern Ireland are easily the lowest-ranked team in the competition and, with games against Austria and England to come, massive underdogs to progress from Group A.

Callaghan, 36, said: “We go out every game with the belief that we can win it, you have to. We’re footballers, we want to strive to be our best.

“Obviously we know exactly how hard that challenge is going to be, we know the calibre of player and team we’re up against.

“But we’re here, we’re in the top 16 teams in Europe and we’re here to cause an upset and we’re not just here to make up numbers.”

Star attraction

The Manchester United pair of David De Gea and Harry Maguire were in the crowd at Old Trafford
The Manchester United pair of David De Gea and Harry Maguire were in the crowd at Old Trafford (Martin Rickett/PA)

Harry Maguire, David De Gea and David James were among the famous faces spotted watching England’s opener.

Putellas remains positive

World player of the year Alexia Putellas has vowed to bounce back after her Euro 2022 dream was shattered by injury.

The Spain midfielder was expected to be one of the stars of the tournament but will miss the event after suffering cruciate ligament damage in training on Tuesday.

The 28-year-old Barcelona player wrote on Instagram: “I could ask why now, why a day before the start of the Euros that I’ve been looking forward to and working towards for such time, but I will not.

“Now starts a new stage. Since I can remember, I have never been more than five days without kicking a ball, training or competing. It was and is my passion and this process will be a challenge but I am confident I can recover, get back on track and finish what I started.”

Real Sociedad’s Amaiur Sarriegi has been called up as Putellas’ replacement. Spain start their campaign when they face Finland in Milton Keynes on Friday.

Putellas said: “Without doubt, I will be another fan now and I will live, shout and feel every moment from the stands.”

Up next

Euro 2022 venues & fixtures
Euro 2022 venues & fixtures (PA Graphics)

July 7:
Norway v Northern Ireland (Group A: 8pm, St Mary’s Stadium)