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Spain and Germany make impressive starts

Spain and Germany both recorded convincing victories against Finland and Denmark respectively as Group B got underway in the Euro 2022 Finals.

Spain were first in action at the MK Stadium, for the first time since the news that star midfielder and Ballon d’Or winner Alexis Putellas had been ruled out of the tournament, and many months besides, with an ACL injury.

Putellas was present to watch her team mates, who were also without Jennifer Hermoso, but saw them go behind after just 50 seconds of play. Linda Sallstrom latched onto a long ball forward from Anna Westerlund and drilled in off the far post past Sandra Panos to put Finland ahead.

Adelina Engman could have made it two but dragged her shot wide but Spain picked the game up from this point and levelled on 26 minutes when captain Irene Parades headed in from a Mariona Caldentey corner. Spain then went in front for the first time, through a neat header by Aitana Bonmati from Maria Pilar Leon’s cross.

Spain continued to dominate possession after the break and Tinja-Riikka Korpela made a number of saves to keep Finland in the game but Lucia Garcia put them firmly in control with the third after another cross by Leon and as the match went into injury time, Sheila Garcia was brought down in the area by Olga Ahtinen and Caldentey tucked home the resulting penalty to complete a 4-1 victory.

Spain: Sandra Panos, Ona Batlle, Irene Paredes, Mapi Leon, Leila Ouahabi (sub Sheila Garcia 61mins), Aitana Bonmati (sub Athenea del Castillo 78mins), Patri Guijarro, Irene Guerrero (sub Laia Aleixandri 60mins), Lucia Garcia (sub Claudia Pina 86mins), Esther Gonzalez (sub Marta Cardona 79mins), Mariona Caldentey. Subs not used: Lola Gallardo, Ivana Andres, Amaiur Sarriegi, Teresa Abelleira, Olga Carmona, Andrea Pereira, Misa Rodriguez.

Finland: Tinja-Riikka Korpela, Tuija Hyyrynen (sub Natalia Kuikka 67mins), Anna Westerlund, Elli Pikkujamsa, Emma Koivisto, Adelina Engman (sub Essi Sainio 45mins), Eveliina Summanen (sub Olga Ahtinen 84mins), Emmi Alanen, Ria Oling (sub Amanda Rantanen 87mins), Linda Sallstrom, Sanni Franssi (sub Jenny-Julia Danielsson 84mins). Subs not used: Katriina Talaslahti, Anna Auvinen, Juliette Kemppi, Nora Heroum, Anna Tamminen, Heidi Kollanen, Jutta Rantala.

Germany meanwhile turned on a powerful display to crush Denmark 4-0 at the Brentford Community Stadium and also hit the woodwork four times during the course of the match.

Felicitas Rauch twice struck the bar before Lina Magull opened the scoring with a powerful strike after having robbed Stine Pedersen of possesstion.

Lene Christensen made a crucial save to deny Magull a second goal on the stroke of half time but the Denmark keeper was caught out of position as she tried to gather a corner and Lea Schuller got in front of her to plant a header into the net and double Germany’s lead.

Denmark had brought on Nadia Nadim as part of a triple substitution to try and rectify things but both Nadim and Pernille Harder were on the periphery of the game as the Germans continued to dominate and they put the game in the bag as the impressive Oberdorf neatly headed down a free kick for Lena Lattwein to take a touch before crashing the ball past Christensen for the third.

Svenja Huth had a goal disallowed for an earlier offside offence against Jule Brand but Germany were not finished and a superb move culminated with Huth finding Sydney Lohmann on the left where she  crossed for Alexandra Popp to finish off with a diving header.

A night to forget for the Danes was rounded off in injury time when the referee - who had been petty and card-happy all match - showed a second yellow card to Kathrine Moller Kuhl, both offences had looked fairly innocuous.

Germany: Merle Frohms, Giulia Gwinn, Kathrin Hendrich, Marina Hegering, Felicitas Rauch, Lena Oberdorf (sub Sydney Lohmann 84mins), Sara Dabritz (sub Lena Lattwein 61mins), Lina Magull (sub Linda Dallmann 69mins), Svenja Huth, Lea Schuller (sub Alexandra Popp 61mins), Klara Buhl (sub Jule Brand 61mins). Subs not used: Sophia Kleinherne, Laura Freigang, Almuth Schult, Nicole Anyomi, Tebea Wassmuth, Ann-Katrin Berger, Sara Doorsoun.

Denmark: Lene Christensen, Rikke Sevecke, Stine Pedersen, Katrine Veje, Janni Thomsen (sub Stine Larsen 84mins), Sanne Troelsgaard (sub Kathrine Moller Kuhl 56mins), Sofie Junge, Sofie Svava (sub Simone Boye 70mins), Pernille Harder, Signe Bruun (sub Nadia Nadim 56mins), Rikke Madsen (sub Mille Gejl Jensen 56mins). Subs not used: Sara Thrige, Karen Holmgaard, Sara Holmgaard, Sofie Bredgaard, Katrine Svane, Luna Gewitz, Laura Worsoe.    

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