Women's Euro 2022: France top Group D with Belgium victory, Italy and Iceland draw
France secured their passage through to the knockout round of the women's Euros as Group D winners after a 2-1 victory over Belgium, while Italy and Iceland drew 1-1 as both remain winless.
France were one of the stories of the opening round of fixtures, as they romped Italy 5-1 to get their tournament off to a brilliant start.
And they started their second game impressively too, going ahead after only six minutes when Kadidiatou Diani leaped highest at the back post to nod a Sakina Karchaoui cross into the back of the net.
However, the French were pegged back on 36 minutes with Belgium’s first shot of the match, when Janice Cayman poked a through ball from Tessa Wullaert past the oncoming Pauline Peyraud-Magnin.
Les Bleues had been completely dominant and did go into the break ahead, after Belgium failed to clear a corner. Clara Mateo whipped another delivery into the box, where Griedge Mbock Bathy was waiting to head home.
Corinne Diacre's team should have added a third heading into injury time, when a penalty was awarded for an Amber Tysiak handball. Tysiak received a second yellow card, but Wendie Renard's penalty was saved before she missed an open goal on the rebound.
Renard wasn't made to pay for her miss though, as France saw out the remaining minutes to clinch Group D and get them into the next round.
Italy and Iceland had never played each other at a Euros, and the former were desperate to put a humiliating 5-1 defeat to France in their tournament opener behind them.
Yet they found themselves behind just three minutes after kick-off, when a long throw into the box from Sveindis Jonsdottir wasn’t dealt with properly by the Italians. It sat up perfectly for Karolina Lea Vilhjalmsdottir, who rifled a half-volley into the top right corner to put Iceland 1-0 up.
Italy were arguably the better team in the remainder of the first half, but a number of good saves from Sandra Sigurdardottir maintained her side’s lead going into the interval.
That advantage would only last until the 62nd minute however. Barbara Bonansea came on at half-time, and it was her good work down the left-hand side that created the goal, as she drove to the byline before pulling the ball back for Valentina Bergamaschi. The Milan midfielder took it first time, and fired past Sigurdardottir to make it 1-1.
Bonansea herself hit the post on 73 minutes, when her dipping effort looked to be sneaking into the bottom corner until an important hand from Sigurdardottir tipped it onto the frame of the goal.
The two teams had chances to nick a winner late on, but neither could take them and they were forced to share the spoils as both still wait for their first win of the tournament.
Iceland sit second in Group D, while Italy remain bottom. Iceland will face France on Monday, knowing that a win will guarantee their place in the next stage of the competition. Italy and Belgium have one point each, and will both need to get a result before hoping France do them a favour if their competition is to continue.