England boss Sarina Wiegman credited the “incredible atmosphere” that helped get her team off to a winning start in the opening game of Euro 2022.
The Lionesses weren’t at their fluent best against a dogged Austria side, but Beth Mead’s 16th-minute goal – a neat finish from Fran Kirby’s assist – was enough to give them the three points in front of a frenzied Old Trafford crowd of nearly 70,000.
The victory puts England in a good position ahead of their next Group A fixture in the tournament against Norway on Monday.
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Speaking to BBC Sport, 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. We did a lot better [after that].
“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.
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“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 first goal we had a huge chance. We have to be a little calmer in the final stage.
“The atmosphere was so incredible. It’s hard to have an influence because the players can’t hear you. But that’s what we want.”
Goalscorer Mead added: “Beyond words. What an amazing night to start the tournament with a win. I’m really happy to get a goal for the team.
“I was pretty sure [it was across the line] but you always doubt yourself when a bit of time passes.
“I’d like to tell you we could hear what Wiegman was saying [afterwards] but it’s so loud we couldn’t hear. We were all into [singing] Sweet Caroline. She’ll probably have the debrief in the dressing room.
“Listen to the atmosphere, unbelievable.”
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