France edge Ice­land 1-0 at women’s Euro

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Eu­ge­nie Le Som­mer con­verted a late penalty to lift France past diehard Ice­land 1-0 while Nina Burger’s early goal gave Aus­tria an equally slim win over 10-player Switzer­land at the women’s Euro on Tues­day.

In Til­burg, Le Som­mer sent Ice­land’s keeper Gud­b­jerg Gun­nars­dot­tir the wrong way to score from the spot on 86 min­utes af­ter sub­sti­tute striker Elin Metta Jensen had brought down Aman­dine Henry in the box. In the Group C opener in Deventer ear­lier on Tues­day, Aus­trian cap­tain Burger scored 15 min­utes in with a clin­i­cal right-foot fin­ish af­ter a pass from Sarah Zadrazil in a clash of Euro new­com­ers.

Switzer­land were re­duced to 10 play­ers af­ter Ra­hel Ki­wic was sent off for bring­ing down Burger just out­side the box with half an hour to go. France had won seven of their pre­vi­ous nine en­coun­ters with Ice­land, but they strug­gled against the diehard de­fence on Tues­day. French mid­fielder Clarisse Le Bi­han sent her shot wide and Dagny Bryn­jars­dot­tir headed over the cross­bar at the other end in the first half. In the sec­ond, France stepped up their pres­sure and Ice­land’s de­fence had a hard time stop­ping a ball flicked by cap­tain Wendie Re­nard from Camille Abily’s free kick.

Mo­ments later, Re­nard’s header hit the cross­bar af­ter a cor­ner, but then the de­fence col­lapsed as Jensen, who had been on the pitch for just three min­utes, brought down Henry. France coach Olivier Echouafni said: “We have the win, that’s the most im­por­tant thing.

“We have to be ef­fec­tive. I love these games be­cause the girls were in dif­fi­culty, but they were pa­tient. They have been re­warded. Ev­ery­one did well.” Aus­tria had lost six of their pre­vi­ous eight en­coun­ters with Switzer­land, but they were the more ag­gres­sive team in the first half. Solid through­out, the Aus­trian de­fence all but elim­i­nated Switzer­land star Ra­mona Bach­mann of Chelsea.

Af­ter the break, Ki­wic saw her header cleared off the goal line by Sarah Puntigam. Puntigam then al­most pun­ished Ki­wic for her foul on Burger, but her free-kick was kept out by Gaelle Thal­mann in the Swiss goal. Aus­trian keeper Manuela Zins­berger then di­verted a long-range shot by Swiss sub­sti­tute Vanessa Ber­nauer to safety.

Ten min­utes from the end, Bach­mann saw her shot de­flected by the Aus­trian de­fence just over the cross­bar as Aus­tria hung on, al­though Thal­mann pre­vented Vik­to­ria Pinther from scor­ing a sec­ond.

“Our first-ever Euro game and a vic­tory, that makes us very proud,” said Aus­tria coach Do­minik Thal­ham­mer. “It was a very good per­for­mance, tac­ti­cally and phys­i­cally too. We con­trolled the game most of the time.”“It’s def­i­nitely not what we wanted,” said Switzer­land coach Martina Voss-Teck­len­burg, blam­ing nerves and pass qual­ity for the loss. —AFP


TIL­BURG: France’s for­ward Eu­ge­nie Le Som­mer cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing dur­ing the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 foot­ball match be­tween France and Ice­land at Sta­dium Kon­ing Wil­helm II in Til­burg on Tues­day.

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