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England’s narrow win over Austria shows room to improve tempo, game management

Richard Callis / SPP

England scrapped to a 1-0 win over Austria in their EURO 2022 opener on Wednesday, with Beth Mead’s wonderfully lobbed finish securing the three points. It was by no means the perfect performance, but it was never going to be.

No national team wants to peak in their opening game of the tournament, especially the hosts. The priority is simply to handle the unique pressures of the occasion and get three points in the bag. The second aim is to reflect on the performance and make improvements for the next one. And for England, the Austria game provided plenty of learning opportunities.

In front of a record-breaking Women’s EURO crowd of over 68,000, England played at a high intensity throughout. Their pressing, as has often been the case since Sarina Wiegman took over as head coach, was executed well and caused endless trouble for Austria. The visitors tried to play short passes from the back through midfield, but were consistently forced into errors and turnovers.

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