France opened their Euros in Group D with a 5-1 hammering of Italy to send a stern warning to its rivals.

The scoreline at Rotherham’s New York Stadium was made easier by a Grace Geyoro first-half hat-trick.

Italy found itself 5-0 down at the break against a fluent France in what became the highest ever first-half score at a women’s Euros.

Midfielder Geyoro put Les Bleues ahead from close range in the ninth minute and Marie-Antoinette Katoto made it 2-0 three minutes later after goalkeeper Laura Giuliani palmed it straight to her.

The goal was Paris St Germain forward Katoto’s 26th in 31 international appearances and she could have had another when she hit the post in the 16th as a confident France continued to dominate possession on their way to topping the group.

A third goal was a formality and came in the 38th when Delphine Cascarino lashed in a powerful strike.

Geyoro, making her 50th appearance for France, bagged her second in the 40th by beating two defenders and the goalkeeper before rolling the ball into an empty net before making Euros history with her hat-trick just before the halftime whistle.

With a win in the bag, France brought on substitutes for all their goalscorers.

Substitute Martina Piemonte grabbed a consolation goal with a looping 76th-minute header and Italy could have had a late second when Selma Bacha cleared off the line in stoppage time with goalkeeper Pauline Peyraud-Magnin beaten.

The win was France’s biggest in a women’s Euro and takes them top of Group D.

The other two teams in the group, Belgium and Iceland, played out a 1-1 draw earlier.

Iceland’s Berglind Thorvaldsdottir’s opener was canceled by Justine Vanhaevermaet for the only goals of the game.

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