tThen things started to improve moderately, with England record scorer Ellen White heading wide and young star Lauren Hemp being denied by a close range save from Zinsberger, who won the Women’s Super League gold glove award for 2021-22. Yet there was still a somewhat incoherent character in England’s build-up game at times.
With a fully fit roster, Wiegman’s biggest selection decision had been where to play her captain, Williamson, who has spent most of the former Dutch manager’s tenure in midfield but is a center back by nature. The head coach chose to drop the 25-year-old from Milton Keynes into her back line, meaning Alex Greenwood was sacrificed and the Manchester City defender’s half-time in possession was missed.
If England are to push themselves to the limit and win this competition they will no doubt need to improve on this mixed first half, but a theme of their recent results has been their formidable second half showings. The Lionesses were tied at halftime in all three June warm-up games, but eventually raced to 3-0, 5-1 and 4-0 victories, thanks in large part to their supreme strength in the depths on the bench.
And with just under half an hour to play, Wiegman mounted a triple change, putting Manchester United duo Alessia Russo and Ella Toone, along with Manchester City winger Chloe Kelly, and all three of them in an immediate impact, springboard to England’s best spell of the match, forcing a succession of turns and seeing fast left winger Lauren Hemp roar over the bar with an effort. But Austria responded and Mary Earps was forced into an impressive diving save low to her left to palm Eintracht Frankfurt midfielder Barbara Dunst’s well-hit long-distance attempt past the post.
Fortunately for England, that was as close as Austria came. Norway, captained by Champions League-winning Lyon striker Ada Hegerberg, will face England at Brighton & Hove Community Stadium on Monday, before the team’s Group A games conclude with a meeting with Northern Ireland in the St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton on 15 July.
England Earps, Bronze, Bright, Williamson, Daly, Stanway, Walsh, Kirby (Toone 63), Mead (Kelly 63), Hemp, White (Russo 64).
Subscribers not used Hampton, Roebuck, Carter, England, Greenwood, Parris, Scott, Stokes, Wubben-Moy.
Austria Zinsberger, Wienroither, Wenninger, Schnaderbeck (Georgieva 77), Hanshaw, Puntigam, Dunst, Zadrazil, Feiersinger (Hobinger 87), Naschenweng (Hickelsberger-Fuller 59), Billa.
Subscribers not used Pal, Kresche, Degen, Eder, Enzinger, Makas, Schiechtl, Schasching, Kirchberger.
Referee Marta Huerta Da Aza (Spain).
England v Austria: how it happened