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Mead strike gives hosts England victory in Euro 2022 opener
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Daniel Lewis
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Beth Mead scored the only goal against Austria
Beth Mead scored the only goal against Austria

Beth Mead's first-half strike earned England a 1-0 win over Austria in the opening match of Women's Euro 2022.

Playing in front of a crowd of 68,871 at Old Trafford — a new record for a match in this competition — the much-fancied Lionesses failed to sparkle but got the job done.

The decisive moment arrived in the 16th minute when Arsenal forward Mead controlled Fran Kirby's lofted pass and lifted the ball over club-mate Manuela Zinsberger.

Austria defender Carina Wenninger appeared to hook the ball off the line and against the crossbar, but goal-line technology awarded it to give the host nation lift-off.

England boss Sarina Wiegman said: "The first game in a tournament, it's so important to win and have a good start. 

"We have shown different phases — some good, some not so good. We started not very good. 

"The second half we created chances but were too sloppy on the ball. We should have scored a couple of times and made it easier."

England spent much of the game on top without extending their lead, which almost came back to haunt them when Mary Earps was called into action to deny Barbara Dunst.

Wiegman added: "Overall I’m really happy. Don’t underestimate Austria. They’re a good, strong organised team. 

"It’s hard to say [if nerves had an effect]. We wanted to start well. We didn’t keep the ball well enough. 

"We scored a good goal and had some more chances. Overall I’m just happy. 

"I'm not frustrated. I just think we can do better. After the goal we had a huge chance. We have to be a little calmer in the final stage."

Speaking after the match, former Lionesses star Fara Williams said: "It’s been a good start. They’ll go away and analyse. 

"They needed to get the excitement and emotion of the first game out of the way. The whole country is behind them — that’s a difficult pressure." 

Alex Scott, capped 140 times by England between 2004 and 2017, added: "As a player or fan you’ll be buzzing. This is what you were wishing for — England to start off with a win. 

"This isn’t England’s best performance but it’s job done."

The Lionesses, aiming to win their first major tournament, are now unbeaten in 15 matches and top Group A ahead of Northern Ireland's meeting with Norway on Thursday.

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EnglandWomen’s Euro 2022Austria
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