Sarina Wiegman hailed England’s record-breaking Euros opening crowd as ‘incredible’ but admitted her side should have beaten Austria by a wider scoreline at Old Trafford.
The Lionesses manager told reporters picking up three points at the first time of asking was her main priority but added that England should have been more comfortable in victory, having netted 84 times in her 14 games in charge prior to their 1-0 win on Wednesday evening.
Beth Mead’s first-half lob settled the game in Manchester in front of a record-breaking attendance of more than 67,000, the largest in Women’s European Championships history. But that was the only goal the capacity crowd would be treated to in a match where England saw plenty of the ball in the final third without creating many more clear-cut chances.
“It was an incredible occasion,” she said. “There are no more words. Unbelievable. Playing here at Old Trafford, with 70,000 people making lots of noise, getting behind us, it was really incredible and I hope they keep coming, which they will.
“We were a little rushed in (the) final third. We did create lots of chances, but the final touch or the choice on the ball to shoot or to cross or take on someone, we can do that better. But the most important thing was that we scored one, kept a clean sheet, which was nice, and got the three points.”
In what was the biggest game of some of her players’ careers to date, England’s starting line-up appeared over-awed by the pressure and sheer numbers of the Old Trafford support at times, leaving Wiegman believing that getting their opening victory under their belt would help them in their next game against Norway on Monday.
A second-half triple substitution saw Chloe Kelly, Alessia Russo and Ella Toone introduced together. That move helped up the tempo of the England side, and Wiegman was impressed with their impact as she considers the 11 who will take to the field at the Amex Stadium to face the side England beat 3-0 in the 2019 World Cup quarter-finals.
“In the huddle after the match I said it was a good win and congratulations for the first win in the tournament,” she said. “This start is so important, it gives such a boost to the team and the crowd so that was very important.
“We had some very good moments in the game, we should have scored more, but we also had some hard moments which we got through, which was good. We had a couple of phases in the game. We started not great, then we got control of the game and pushed them back to their half.
“That made it very compact, very physical and well organised. We did well, we kept the ball moving, we found Keira (Walsh) a lot then we scored the goal, it was a really good goal, it would have helped to sore the second goal straight after.
“I did think the changes had an impact. It says something about Austria, they did well too but I do think when they came on, we had a big chance. After that, there was counter attack with Chloe Kelly where we could have got more out of it. Again, it shows the depth of the team.
“Norway will be a very hard opponent, just as Austria were hard too. We just want to play our best game. We had too many phases, what we really take from today is that at some point we could keep the ball, be calmer and then start to control. You don’t want to be in transition all the time, then it’s a running game and you want to be a football game.”
Keep up with all the latest from Euro 2022 across Sky Sports and Sky Sports News this summer.
Coverage will be anchored by Sky Sports WSL presenter Caroline Barker, alongside Jessica Creighton and Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, Karen Carney, Sue Smith, Courtney Sweetman-Kirk and Laura Bassett will give analysis throughout the tournament.
They will also be joined by experienced England goalkeeper Karen Bardsley and Manchester City defender Esme Morgan.
The pundits and presenters will work from the Sky Sports Women’s Euro 2022 Mobile Presentation Bus, which will follow the Sky Sports News team around the country to the various stadiums where matches are being played.
In addition, Sky Sports’ Essential Football Podcast will be rebranded for the tournament to Sky Sports Women’s Euros Podcast from 21 June. Hosted by Charlotte Marsh and Anton Toloui, it will feature exclusive news and player interviews in addition to a strong programme line up around the tournament.
Wednesday July 6
Group A: England 1-0 Austria
Thursday July 7
Group A: Norway vs Northern Ireland – kick off 8pm, St Mary’s
Friday July 8
Group B: Spain vs Finland – kick off 5pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany vs Denmark – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Saturday July 9
Group C: Portugal vs Switzerland – kick off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Group C: Netherlands vs Sweden – kick off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Sunday July 10
Group D: Belgium vs Iceland – kick off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Italy – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Monday July 11
Group A: Austria vs Northern Ireland – kick off 5pm, St Mary’s
Group A: England v Norway – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Tuesday July 12
Group B: Denmark vs Finland – kick off 5pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Germany vs Spain – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Wednesday July 13
Group C: Sweden vs Switzerland – kick off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Netherlands v Portugal – kick off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Thursday July 14
Group D: Italy vs Iceland – kick off 5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Group D: France vs Belgium – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Friday July 15
Group A: Northern Ireland v England – kick off 8pm, St Mary’s
Group A: Austria vs Norway – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Saturday July 16
Group B: Finland vs Germany – kick off 8pm, Stadium MK
Group B: Denmark vs Spain – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Sunday July 17
Group C: Switzerland vs Netherlands – kick off 5pm, Bramall Lane
Group C: Sweden vs Portugal – kick off 5pm, Leigh Sports Village
Monday July 18
Group D: Iceland vs France – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Group D: Italy vs Belgium – kick off 8pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium
Wednesday July 20
Quarter-final 1: Winners Group A v Runners-up Group B – kick off 8pm, Brighton and Hove Community Stadium
Thursday July 21
Quarter-final 2: Winners Group B v Runners-up Group A – kick off 8pm, London Community Stadium
Friday July 22
Quarter-final 3: Winners Group C v Runners-up Group D – kick off 8pm, Leigh Sports Village
Quarter-final 4: Winners Group D v Runners-up Group C – kick off 8pm, New York Stadium
Tuesday July 26
Semi-final 1: Winners quarter-final 1 v Winners quarter-final 3 – kick off 8pm, Bramall Lane
Wednesday July 27
Semi-final 2: Winners quarter-final 2 v Winners quarter-final 4 – kick-off 8pm, Stadium MK
Sunday July 31
Winners semi-final 1 v Winners semi-final 2 – kick off 5pm, Wembley