Group A

 

Teams

P

W

D

L

F

A

+/-

Pts

1

Switzerland

1

1

0

0

4

1

3

3

2

Italy

1

1

0

0

2

1

1

3

3

Russia

1

0

0

1

1

2

-1

0

4

Belgium

1

0

0

1

1

4

-3

0

 

Group B


Teams

P

W

D

L

F

A

+/-

Pts

1

France

1

1

0

0

3

1

2

3

2

Spain

1

0

1

0

1

1

0

1

2

Netherlands

1

0

1

0

1

1

0

1

4

Norway

1

0

0

1

1

3

-2

0

 

Italy 2-1 Russia

 

Goals: Coppola 3, Alborghetti 56; Koltakova 13

 

Hosts Italy opened up with a win in San Marino courtesy of a second-half goal by Brescia midfielder Lisa Alborghetti which sealed victory over Russia.

 

The Azzurrine got off to a perfect start in the third minute as Katia Coppola fired in from close range after Rossiyanka goalkeeper Margarita Shirokova parried Claudia Mauri’s shot.

 

Their advantage was short lived as Nadezhda Koltakova equalised just 10 minutes later, as goalkeeper Laura Giuliani was robbed with the ball at her feet by Anna Cholovyaga.

 

Giuliani made up for her costly error by producing fantastic saves to deny YPI Yekaterinburg forward Snezhana Kobeleva, who is one of the players to watch in the tournament, and was a constant threat to the Italian defence.

 

Corrado Corradini’s responded with shots from distance by Coppola and Alborghetti,but Shirokova was equal to the first, while the second flew agonisingly over the bar.

 

Russia hit the bar just before half time from Rossiyanka midfielder Koltakova’s free-kick, and again came close immediately after the restart when Cholovyaga found herself through on goal, but her effort was blocked by Giuliani.

 

In a close game, Russia’s failure in front of goal was increased when Alborghetti collected a pass in the box from Mauri, and fired past Shirokova.

 

Russia continued to attack, but substitute Anastasia Pozdeeva was unable to get past an inspired Giuliani, who could be forgiven for her early mistake.

 

Switzerland 4-1 Belgium      

 

Goals: Aigbogun 23, Saner 35, Probst 89, Fässler 90+3; Aga 58

 

Switzerland were flattered by the scoreline in what was actually a close battle between the central European teams in Group A.

 

After a slow start, Switzerland came to life with Eseosa Aigbogun and Corina Saner grabbing goals in 12 first half minutes.

 

Belgium reduced the deficit just before the hour mark through substitute Maria-Laura Aga,  but goals from Michelle Probst and Nadine Fässler made it Swiss bliss for Yannick Schwery’s side.

 

Belgium started well, but Kimberly Verbist was caught in possession by Cora Canetta, who released Aigbougn who was one-on-one with goalkeeper Quirina D’Haeseleir, accurately finishing to give Switzerland the lead.

 

The opening goal gave the Swiss confidence, and Verbist prevented a second goal to deny Canetta going clear with a an important challenge, but the Belgian defence were helpless to stop left-back Saner’s drive ten minutes before the break. As Switzerland tried to kill off the game before half-time, D’Haeseleir denied Cinzia Jörg and Aigbogun from extending their lead.

 

Switzerland’s threat wilted in the second half, with Belgium captain Justine Vanhaevermaet and Tessa Wullaert starting to boss the midfield, and it was no surprise that on 58 minutes an Aga free-kick was successful, before Jana Coryn came close with a powerful drive which hit the post as Belgium bravely searched for an equaliser.

 

As the game drew to a close, Aigbogun also struck the upright, before a Probst free-kick somehow found its way past D’Haeseleir.

 

Three minutes into stoppage time at the end of the game substitute Fässler put the result beyond doubt after a fantastic solo effort from 17-year-old midfielder Natasha Gensetter.

 

Germany 3-1 Norway          

 

Goals: Schmid 26, Lotzen 45+1, Hegenauer 90+3; Bjånesøy 35

 

Last year’s semi-finalists Germany overcame their worst nightmare to crush Norway 3-1 in Cervia in their opening Group B game. Isabella Schmid opened the scoring with a spectacular long-range effort on 26 minutes.

 

Sandviken’s Melissa Bjånesøy equalised on 35 minutes, but the Germans regained the lead in stoppage time at the end of the first half with another shot from range, this time from 17-year-old Bayern Munich forward Lena Lotzen, before substitute Anja Hegenauer sealed the win three minutes in to stoppage time at the end of the second.

 

Jarl Torske’s side appeared to be well-supported, but the Germans bossed possession and should have been ahead in the opening minutes but captain Ramona Petzelberger headed Nicole Rosler’s cross wide.

 

The deadlock was broken when Norway seemingly cleared a corner to safety near the half-way line, only for Freiburg midfielder Schmid to drive the ball back towards from goal from almost 40 yards, hitting the underside of the bar to beat Ane Fimreite.

 

Norway offered little in attack, and you could be forgiven for wondering how they qualified for the finals ahead of England, but they grabbed an equaliser as Caroline Hansen got the better of Carolin Simon down the right, breaking through towards Lisa Schmitz’s goal, only to square for Bjånesøy who had the easy task of slotting the ball home.

 

Norway probably deserved to go in level at the break, but were cruelly denied that when Lotzen put Germany ahead in stoppage time, when she took advantage of an error by Anette Tengesdal to cut in from the left and send a curling shot over Fimreite from almost 30 yards.

 

The Scandinavian youngsters put up a better show in the second half and were unlucky not to restore parity with good work from Kristine Hegland to go past several players, but her team-mates failed to get on the end of her cross.

 

Maren Knudsen twice fired over from the edge of the area, and Bjånesøy saw a volley turned away by Schmitz with just five minutes remaining before Germany sealed their win thanks to Freiburg midfielder Hegenauer.

 

Spain 1-1 Netherlands        

 

Goals: Beristain 11; Rijsdijk 49

 

Athletic Bilbao midfielder Naiara Beristain opened the scoring for Spain in the 11th minute, forcing the ball over the line after Nagore Calderón’s free-kick rebounded off the crossbar. Den Haag’s Pia Rijsdijk equalised just four minutes into the second half to secure the Netherlands a 1-1 draw with Spain in Group B in a game very different to last year’s contest in the same group at the Železarnica in Skopje.

 

Dutch goalkeeper Laura du Ry kept the Oranje in the game with a number of good saves as Spain threw everything at the Dutch goal over the course of the game.

 

The 18-year-old Den Haag stopper pulled off a great reflex save to deny Ana Buceta from distance, but it could have been significantly worse. 

 

The Netherlands eventually grew into the game, and Rijsdijk showed composure to slot her shot past Sandra Paños from Lieke Martens square pass.

 

The game livened up, and Alexia Putellas should have put Spain ahead, but snatched at her shot, before Paños had to dive at Martens’ feet at the other end.

 

Du Ry was the Netherlands best player, and she pulled off further great saves when faced with a one-on-one with Beristain, before pushing a Leire Fernández’s effort onto the bar late in the game.


2 Comments
  1. Women's Soccer United 7 years ago

    Thanks John, this is a really interesting read.

     

    I had not really thought about the difference of research and study for men and women, I kind of assumed for medical reasons it would be equal. I will see if I can find any information regarding this in England. They are right about the ACL injury, we have unfortunately reported on a lot of them 🙁

  2. Women's Soccer United 8 years ago

    Great update, thanks Gareth 🙂

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