Euro 2017: Matchday 1 Review

There were routine wins, hard-fought wins, and multiple goals to wrap up the opening fixtures at Europe's premier tournament. VAVEL UK takes a look at all of those matches below.

Euro 2017: Matchday 1 Review
Jodie Taylor ended a 20-year wait for a hat trick at the European Championships | Source: Lorraine Hill/Getty

Eight matches are done and dusted at the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 or Euro 2017 as it's commonly called and, not much happened by the way of upsets. England were the big winners of the day while Norway did not live up to expectations. Most of the big name nations had to push through difficult fixtures to get their wins, but they got the necessary start their tournaments needed by gaining all three points.

Group A: Netherlands and Denmark top the table

Netherlands 1 - 0 Norway

Van de Sanden, 66'

The Good: The hosts were magnificent going forward. They tested Norway's inexperienced team every time they got forward and if their finishing had been better, the scoreline would have been much worse for Norway.

The Bad: The service to Ada Hegerberg was almost non-existent. Caroline Graham-Hansen tried her best to provide a spark for her country and in turn, feed the ball towards Hegerberg whenever she got forward bu the two players did not seem to be on the same wave length all game lone. No one else stepped up to give Norway's attack a different dimension.

Conclusions: The Netherlands are a great team going forward but their defense leaves gaps for teams to exploit at any given opportunity. The lack of pace that their centre backs have will be concerning against better opponents. Norway have their work cut out for them after this loss as they will now need to win their next two games to make the knock out stages. Hegerberg has to be more involved in their games or they will not get anything from this tournament.

Denmark 1 - 0 Belgium

Troelsgaard, 6'

The Good: Pernille Harder remains an absolute joy to watch and her set piece delivery provided the opportunity for her team to score the only goal of the game. Whenever she got on the ball, she made something happen and Denmark will want to keep her involved at all times as much as they can in the coming games.

The Bad: The finishing from both teams was not great viewing. Belgium could have found a goal to tie the game right at the end of the match but their finishing let them down in consecutive chances. For Denmark, Nadia Nadim's first half chances will be something they won't want to be repeated. The Portland Thorns FC forward hit her initial shot and rebound against a defender as she failed to cleanly hit the ball twice in succession.

Conclusion: Belgium will cause a few problems in their group. After getting over their initial nerves, they showed that they have the quality going forward to trouble defenses and have enough in them to remain sturdy at the back. They will make Group A enthralling viewing until the end.

Group B: Germany and Sweden cancel each other out

Italy 1 - 2 Russia

Mauro, 88' - Danilova, 6'; Morozova, 26' 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Good: 19-year old goalkeeper Tatyana Shcherbak helped her team to an improbable win over Italy with her sterling performance. The young goalkeeper made save after save to keep her team ahead for the entire match and although she conceded one late, she can be delighted with her overall first appearance at Euro 2017.

The Bad: Italy were not as good as many thought they would be after a great qualification process. Their style of play had to be reversed once Russia took the early lead and they were unable to adjust until it was too late. With two more matches left against Germany and Sweden, this has now become an uphill battle for the Italians to make it out of the group stages.

Conclusions: Neither side looks to have enough in them to threaten what should be a 1-2 finish between Germany and Sweden but if Russia can remain focused, they may be able to pull off an ever bigger upset.

Germany 0 - 0 Sweden

The Good: Sweden's backline, led by Nilla Fischer, were close to impenetrable as Sweden halted the losing streak they had against the Germans. Kosovare Asllani also had a great game for her country as she took her club form onto the international stage. She may not have gotten on the scoresheet but her play will be invaluable going forward for Sweden. 

The Bad: Germany are in desperate need of a striker that can finish consistently. Anja Mittag and now Mandy Islacker can put the ball into the back of the net but not on a regular basis and it showed in this game against Sweden. If Germany want to get themselves another European title, something will have to change in that department. 

Conclusions: These two teams should still finish top of their group and it will only be a matter of who finishes in first and who finishes in second. They have too much quality for either Italy or Russia to contain over 90 minutes.

Group C: Austria shock Switzerland

Austria 1 - 0 Switzerland

Burger, 15'

The Good: Everything about Austria's display can be listed under this category. The newcomers to the competition not only got the goal they wanted but they stayed resolute through the match to keep that lead and win the game. Sarah Puntigam in particular, was an absolute rock in midfield and kept the Swiss at bay.

The Bad: Ramona Bachmann continues to flatter to deceive. Everything about her approach play is fantastic to watch but it comes to the final pass or her decision-making in the final third, the Swiss playmaker disappoints far too often for someone of her talent. She wasn't the only one who did not play well against Austria and it's now left Switzerland in a hole when it comes to qualifying for the knockout stages.

Conclusions: Austria were surprisingly stout in defense and it'll be interesting to see how they fair against France later on. Switzerland have a lot of soul-searching to do before their next game and will need to find a solution to their lack of cutting edge in the final third as soon as possible

France 1 - 0 Iceland

Le Sommer, PK, 82'

The Good: Even though they lost, Iceland went toe-to-toe with France and were on the wrong side of a penalty call twice from almost winning this game. They were the vastly inexperienced side compared to their opponents on the day but they proved to be a capable outfit and depending on how results go elsewhere, could find themselves getting out of the group into the next stage of the competition. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bad: France's attacking threat was almost non-existent for most of the match. Part of that is down to how well Iceland defended but the French will have to go back to the drawing board and figure out how to turn their possession into goal scoring opportunities. Their set piece defending will also require some work going forward.

Conclusions: After the first game, Iceland could be the second team out of Group C to make the quarter-finals if they can convert their chances. France, even though they struggled against Iceland, should finish top of the group but they will need to start playing to the level we all know they can if they want to win the competition.

Group D: England and Spain thrill on the final day of Matchday 1

Spain 2 - 0 Portugal

Losada, 23'; Sampedro, 42'

The Good: The Spanish style of play does differ whether it's the men playing or the women and Spain were impressive in their performance against Portugal. Their backline was hardly troubled and going forward, Amanda Sampedro was the pick of the front players who got the goal her play deserved.

The Bad: Jennifer Hermoso did not have a good day in front of goal. Had she been ruthless in front of goal, Spain would have won this game by a large margin. Instead, she missed easy chance after easy chance as her teammates continually found her in good positions to make the most of their passes.

Conclusions: Spain against England will probably the most exciting game of the group as both teams showed they are capable of completely dominating games given the chance. As their defense was not really tested against Portugal, Spain will have to be much more composed against England or Scotland.

England 6 - 0 Scotland

Taylor, 11' 26' 53'; White, 32'; Nobbs, 87'; Duggan, 90+3'

The Good: Jodie Taylor repaid Mark Sampson's faith in her by bagging a hat trick tonight. She tested the goalkeeper with every chance she got and made the most of her chances today to score when she did. The rest of the England eleven were also in fine form and it showed in their performance.

The Bad: Scotland came into the tournament with injuries to key players and even though they tried to downplay the effect those injuries had on their team, those players' presence was missed today and it was obvious. Things got even worse for Scotland as both Rachel Corsie and Jane Ross came out of the game with injuries that could be potentially serious for them.

Conclusions: Scotland's defending was abysmal but full credit must go to England for taking what was given to them and making the most of it. They may face a tougher prospect in Spain but they will go into that match full of confidence and ready to take the next step in their growth. Scotland's performance was worrying but if Corsie and Ross are fit for the next match, they should be able to still push for a second-place finish in the group.


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