Women’s Euros are off the mark with England eking out a win against Austria in front of a record crowd at Old Trafford in the opener.
Roared on by the home crowd of 68,871, Beth Mead scored the only goal of the game in the 16th minute for the Lionesses, dinking the ball over goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger after being picked out by Fran Kirby.
Carina Wenninger’s effort to clear off the line struck the bar and went flying away from the goal but the ball was ruled to have crossed the line giving Mead her 15th goal in as many games.
Ellen White, England’s all-time top goal scorer, went close to adding a second 10 minutes later but her header went wide as the hosts got a foot-hold in the game. A second goal seemed imminent with Georgia Stanway finding space to create and Kirby delivering some clever passes on the left.
But with England running out of initial steam, the Austrians settled into a compact shape and went to the tested method of counter-attacking football.
With her team struggling to create clear chances Sarina Wiegman made a triple substitution in the 64th minute in an attempt to revive her team.
Despite being on the backfoot the Austrians came close to a lever in the 78th minute but England goalkeeper Mary Earps did well to keep out Barbara Dunst’s strike.
England will next take on Norway in the Women’s Euros while Austria take on Northern Ireland next.
The competition continues tomorrow with Spain taking on Finland and Norway opening their account against Northern Ireland.