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This start is so important – Sarina Wiegman satisfied after England win opener

Sarina Wiegman is unbeaten as England boss (Nick Potts/PA)
Sarina Wiegman is unbeaten as England boss (Nick Potts/PA)

England boss Sarina Wiegman described the winning start to Euro 2022 as important while stressing her side can perform better after the Lionesses opened their home campaign with a 1-0 victory over Austria.

Beth Mead’s 16th-minute finish proved the only goal of the tournament curtain-raiser at Old Trafford, which had a competition-record crowd of 68,871 in attendance.

Wiegman said in her post-match press conference: “It’s a good win, and this start is so important. It gives such a boost to the team and the crowd.

“We had some very good moments in the game, we created a lot of chances and we should have scored a little more. But we had also some hard moments in the game and got through, so that’s really good I think.”

After Mead lifted the ball over her Arsenal team-mate Manuela Zinsberger, and confirmation it had crossed the line by the match officials, England’s unsuccessful attempts to add to their lead included Ellen White heading a good chance wide, while Lauren Hemp was denied by a fine save.

After the break, Mary Earps made two saves in the final 15 minutes as the hosts saw out the victory.

Wiegman added: “I think we were a little rushed in the final third. We created a lot of chances but the final touch, or the choice on the ball to shoot or cross or take them on, we can do that better. But the most important thing was we scored one, and that we have three points.

“I think we lost the ball too quick (in the second half), and then you come in transitions all the time, and that’s really tiring.

“And of course, they wanted to push for a goal. Then you really have to keep the ball, and then you can control, and we didn’t do that well enough. But I do think in the last minutes we were very calm, and kept the ball longer, and that was very mature.”

Beth Mead celebrates
Beth Mead struck for England (Nick Potts/PA)

Regarding the atmosphere created by the crowd, Wiegman said: “It was incredible. No more words – it is just unbelievable. Playing here at Old Trafford, 70,000 people making lots of noise, standing behind us, that is really incredible.

“I hope they keep coming and they will because we’ve sold out stadiums.”

England continue their Group A fixtures next Monday when they take on Norway at the Amex Stadium, before concluding them by facing Northern Ireland at St Mary’s four days later.

Austria boss Irene Fuhrmann said: “I’m 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 is a bit disappointing.

“Especially in the second half we showed a good reaction, offensively especially, we showed courage, we had a few chances to score. But of course England dominated the game over many phases and therefore deserved the win.”