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Euro 2022: England boss Sarina Wiegman says ‘they can do better’ but starting with a win is important

England boss Sarina Wiegman said it was “so important” to start Euro 2022 with a win Hosts defeated Austria 1-0.

Beth Mead scored the only goal ahead of a tournament record 68,871 at Old Trafford.

“The first game in a tournament, it’s so important to win and get off to a good start,” Wiegman told BBC Sport.

“We showed different phases – some good, some not so good. We should have scored more goals and made it easier.”

England are one of the favorites for the tournament as Wiegman won the last Euro 2017 with the Netherlands.

When asked if nervousness was a factor, she added: “Hard to say, we wanted to start well. We didn’t hold the ball well enough. We scored a good goal and had more chances. Overall I’m just happy.

“I’m not frustrated, I just think we can do better. We had a huge chance after the first goal, we need to calm down a bit in the final stages.

“The atmosphere was so amazing. It’s hard to influence because the players can’t hear you, but that’s what we want.”

Wiegman hopes England’s opening win will give the side a “boost” for Monday’s tough clash against Norway before they meet Northern Ireland on July 15.

But when asked if performance would be more of a focus in the next game, she added: “A good start helps.

Former England defender Alex Scott said Wiegman “knows there’s more to come” from her side and it was a “sloppy” performance in patches.

Winger Chloe Kelly said the team was “still building” but former goalkeeper Karen Bardsley felt they deserved recognition for “a job well done”.

“England put the ball in the net and took the points home,” added Bardsley. “They are on their way and let’s hope they get lots of congratulations – there’s plenty of positive acknowledgment of a job well done.

“A lot of the fundamentals could have been better but ultimately Wiegman will be happy to come out of this big event with a win.”

Midfielder Georgia Stanway, who was named Player of the Match, has urged fans to “bring the noise” for their remaining group games.

“We need that in every single game. Bring the noise with you, it can upset the opponents,” she added.

Arsenal striker Mead scored the only goal after 16 minutes when her club-mate, Austria goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger, was almost cleared off the crossbar by a defender. However, goal-line technology decided the shot had crossed the line.

“I was pretty sure [it crossed] but you always doubt yourself when a little time goes by,” Mead said.

“It’s indescribable. What an amazing night to start the tournament with a win. It was so loud we couldn’t hear what she was [Wiegman] said [afterwards in a huddle]. We were all into Sweet Caroline.”

England captain Leah Williamson also praised the loud support from the crowd.

“What an occasion. The fans came out, we hit it off,” she added.

“It was very special, I had no idea what to expect. We took it really well. I closed my eyes during the national anthem. If I had looked at Mom, I would have started crying.

“It’s noisy, communication becomes more difficult. Sometimes it gets in the way, but I would take that any day.

“You don’t have to be at your best in the first game and you can grow. Points on board are the most important thing.

“We dealt with pressure and expectation and it’s over now. Good start.”

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