Mapi León of Barcelona and Grace Geyoro of PSG are the stars so far – GiveMeSport


A summer of football in England kicked off on July 6 when England took on Austria.

Euro 2022 has already set attendance records, the Dutch army of fans is taking over the cities, the Icelandic thunderbolt is here and, most importantly, the little car is back.

The games were exciting, full of great goals and top performers. Here’s what we learned from the first round of matches.

Work in progress

The pressure of playing in front of a home crowd clearly affected England, who looked nervous against Austria.

As the nerves subsided, England found their rhythm. Fran Kirby asked a lot of questions about her positioning, even though she couldn’t see much of the ball. She ended up creating the goal for England with a sublime chipped ball for the first time behind Arsenal’s Beth Mead.

Mead continued her blistering form and looked threatening the entire game. Millie Bright was a rock in defense, eliminating any danger and spraying long diagonals for her wingers.

Austria’s Laura Feiersinger put in a brilliant individual performance, but her team sometimes found themselves a bit isolated in attack.

Sarina Wiegman’s side avoided a potential banana peel match with a win, but would expect a better performance in the tournament. Austria, semi-finalists in 2017, distinguished themselves with a shrewd defensive performance.

Norway managed to win their match against tournament debutants Northern Ireland. There were several stories from the game, but Northern Ireland scoring their first-ever goal of the tournament was a moment in history.

Julie Nelson, 37, has become the oldest goalscorer in Euro history, overtaking Italian Patrizia Panico. Besides losing the match, the biggest blow was losing Simone Magill to a devastating ACL injury.

Norway were able to show off their attacking prowess, with Julie Blakstad, Guro Reiten, Frida Maanum and Caroline Graham Hansen all on the scoresheet. However, they left a bit to be desired defensively and their next test is unlikely to forgive those mistakes.

Group A is always balanced. Austria can ask Norway questions based on their performance against England, while the Lionesses will have to improve their performance. Everything is still to play.

Julie Nelson from Northern Ireland

german revenge

Big favorites Spain opened Group B against Finland and received a wake-up call.

Spain, still concerned about the loss of their captain and Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas just a day before the start of the tournament, showed they still had problems finishing, but they recovered on the right path and eventually won the match comfortably.

Barcelona’s Mapi León stood out, displaying his exceptional ability on the ball as he bagged two assists.

There was possession, there was control, but the goals they scored underlined the fact that Spain have one of the most diverse ways of hurting a team.

The space behind the full-backs was there to be exploited, and Finland tried to use the pace behind, winning a few times. This is something the teams will be paying attention to.

Mapi Leon from Spain

Germany faced Denmark, a team that knocked them out of the tournament in 2017. Indeed, they seemed to have a score to settle.

Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s side were intense from the start and gave the Danes no respite.

Lina Magull led the show, while Alexandra Popp scored her first Euros with a goal. Things went from bad to worse for Denmark when talented 18-year-old mercurial Katherine Kühl was shown a red card in the final minutes. Last year’s finalists were largely dominated by Germany, who made a statement about reclaiming their crown in Europe.

In the group of death, each result is crucial. Based on the first two games, Spain and Germany will fight their way through the group, but first place is there for the taking. Denmark, meanwhile, are hoping to come off the ice in the next game.

German Lina Magull

Group C stationary

Group C launched the most frantic pair of matches to date. As the Swiss took a two-goal lead in just five minutes, Nils Nielsen’s side struggled to maintain their momentum and control the game.

Portugal grew in stature and brought their corner routines to the partythus scoring his first goal and creating multiple other dangerous chances, ultimately bringing the game to a 2-2 draw.

It was Arsenal midfield maestro Lia Wälti’s 100th international cap for Switzerland, who looked out of depth for much of the game. They will need to be improved a lot for their next games.

Defending champions Netherlands kicked off their campaign against tournament favorites Sweden.

It was a two-half game. Both teams showed how a team can use individual quality to introduce tactical flexibility and change the game.

Lia Walti from Switzerland

Mark Parson’s positional changes in the second half allowed Vivianne Miedema to create isolation against the opposition centre-back, while Jill Roord’s move to the center meant she could use her skills much better.

The Dutch capitalized on that momentum and scored via Roord, ending the game in a stalemate. Sweden’s aggressive full-backs have proven to be a double-edged sword.

The bigger story was that the Netherlands lost two of their starters in defence. Sari Van Veenendal, who won the Golden Glove at the 2019 Women’s World Cup, was ruled out of the tournament, while Aniek Nouwen limped off the pitch.

Daphne van Domselaar, 22, announced herself on the international scene by replacing Van Veenendal for her second cap. She looked solid between the sticks.

With a finely balanced Group C, goal difference could decide the final standings. The Swedes and the Dutch hope to get all the guns out in their next two matches.

Vivianne Miedema from the Netherlands

French five stars

In Group D, Iceland and Belgium kicked off. With VAR heavily used during the match, the team that took a chance was rewarded.

Iceland came out of it with intensity. Their counter-press and explosiveness on transition were visible, but they ultimately failed to make the most of their 23 shots.

Wolfsburg’s Sveindís Jónsdóttir lit up the stage with his powerful dribbling and carrying balls, and was a constant attacking threat. Berglind Þorvaldsdóttir had his penalty saved by Belgium’s Nicky Evrard in the first half, before scoring Iceland’s only goal of the match.

Belgium had their moments and in the 67th minute Reading’s Justine Vanhaevermaet converted from the spot to level things up.

Winning this match would have helped either team in their bid to secure second place in Group D, but a draw still leaves the yards difficult to cover.

French star Grace Geyoro

France vs. Italy was the battle of the heavyweights, title contenders against the dark horses, which was to be a clash to decide who will dominate Group D.

Italy started well – Barbara Bonansea scored on goal in the opening minutes but had her shot saved. At that time, it looked like Italy might cause trouble. But then PSG’s Grace Geyoro arrived.

Corine Deacon’s side, led by strikers Marie-Antoinette Katoto, Kadidiatou Diani and Delphine Cascarino, and completed by midfielders Sandie Toletti and Geyoro, went wild.

Italy made it easy for them, but Les Bleues presented a solid case for their title hopes. France crushed Italy with five goals and a hat-trick from Geyoro in the first 45 minutes.

Things looked bleak for Italy, with the doomed sword to suffer the heaviest loss in Euro history, but they came back to fight in the second half.

You could say the French have definitely eased off, having already sealed the game, but there were positives in this second half for Milena Bertolini’s side.

How Italy recover from this mental beating will be decisive as to how far they can go in the tournament. As for France, the world is waiting once again. How they maintain that level is the next question.

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