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Jubilant England supporters are convinced that the side will 'bring home' the Euro 2022 trophy.
Three Lions fans roared on the Lionesses during their win over Austria in the opening match of Group D at Old Trafford. Beth Mead scored the only goal of the game on 16 minutes as England got the job done.
Online, one wrote: "It's coming home, it's coming home….." Another chimed: "The thing I'm enjoying most about this match? Seeing so many children and young people enjoying watching #Lionesses . Nobody seems bothered about the gender of the players. They're here to support their country. Something special." A third said: Lionesses can definitely play better. Seemed a bit nervy tonight understandably, but a win is all that matters. More to come.
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Someone gushed: "Not at our sparking best but 3 points and we're off an running. Huge crowd, Millie Bright superb, lovely assist from Fran for Beth's goal. Well played everyone."
A last one wrote: "Sarina Wiegman remains undefeated leading England, who open the home tournament with a win. With a new competition attendance record, what a way to set the tone and get a month of women's football underway!"
Indeed, Sarina Wiegman managed to secure the win despite the game not going as smoothly as some hoped. It's now a run of 15 games that the national side have not lost since she took charge in September 2021. The three points puts England top of Group A.
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But the performance failed to match the expectation and excitement 68,871 fans had generated, as the tournament kicked off with more of a whimper than a bang.
And if England are to go on to be crowned champions for the first time, Wiegman knows her nervous side will have to produce much more than this if and when the bigger challenges come along.
The Lionesses had come into this opening Group B clash riding a huge wave of confidence following the perfect build-up. The hosts might have never won a major tournament before, but they took on Austria on the back of a 14-match unbeaten run since Wiegman became boss.
It made them one of the favourites to go on and land the big prize – and not least because Wiegman knew what this took, having led Holland to Euros glory five years ago. Getting off to a winning start would have been the only thing on Wiegman's mind to begin with though.
And her stars were handed a boost before kick off when men's captain Harry Kane sent them all a good luck message on social media, insisting the entire nation were behind them. The hosts of the women's Euros had never lost their opening match since the introduction of the group phase in 1997, meaning all the pressure was on England.
Not that it seemed to bother them as Weigman's side dominated from the start. Lauren Hemp headed wide on 12 minutes, while a dazzling run from Georgia Stanway came to nothing when her cross failed to find a white shirt.
But this was forgotten on 17 minutes when Mead latched onto a sublime pass from Fran Kirby and beat Manuela Zinsberger with a lob that just crossed the line, despite the efforts of Carina Wenninger. Austria were in danger of being taken to the cleaners and Ellen White should have doubled England's lead, but headed wide from Hemp's cross.
Hemp then blew a good chance herself on the stroke of halftime when the impressive Kirby picked her out with a pass that ripped the Austrian defense to shreds. But with just Zinsberger to beat, she saw her goal-bound strike deflected over the crossbar by the Austrian keeper.
Wiegman must have been hoping her side wouldn't live to regret missing opportunities to kill the game off. Kirby got her first sight of goal but was unable to find the power or direction to beat Zinsberger, while at the opposite end Katharina Naschenweng screwed a shot wide to remind the hosts Austria were still in the game.
England needed that second goal to ease the tension, but Stanway fired wide and Wiegman had seen enough and made a triple change in a bid to freshen up her side's attacking options.
But it was Austria who came closest to finding a goal when Barbara Dunst bought a fine save from Mary Earps with just 12 minutes to go, as England avoided an opening nightmare in the Theatre of Dreams.
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- England Football Team
- Euro 2020
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