The women’s European Championship got under way with pre-game fireworks for a tournament record crowd but there was little sparkle from hosts England as they laboured to a 1-0 win over Austria at Old Trafford on Wednesday.
The crowd of 68,871 was the largest for a European Championship game, beating the previous best of 41,301 from the Euro 2013 final in Sweden, and the enthusiasm of the heavily youthful and noisy supporters fired England to a lively start.
Beth Mead grabbed the decisive goal in the 16th minute for the Lionesses – dinking the ball over Austria goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger after being picked out by Fran Kirby.
Although Austria defender Carina Wenninger valiantly attempted to clear off the line, with her effort striking the bar and flying away from goal, the ball was ruled to have crossed the line.
It was Mead’s 15th goal in as many games for her country and the Lionesses’ alltime top scorer Ellen White went close to adding a second, ten minutes later, flashing a header from a Lauren Hemp cross just wide.
Image via Beth Mead Twitter