At the Sparta Stadion in Rotterdam on Monday night, Group B opened up with a surprising result as Russia won their first ever Women’s EURO game, beating Italy 2-1.
Elena Danilova put the Russians ahead in the ninth minute and by the 26th minute they were 2-0 up thanks to an Elena Morozova header off Ekaterina Sochneva’s left-wing cross.
Italy rallied late on to set up a feisty finale in the encounter but could only settle for an 88th minute consolation by Ilaria Mauro.
They had never previously lost in the Women’s EURO when Mauro had scored but that record was halted on Monday night as Russia’s 19-year-old goalkeeper, Tatyana Shcherbak pulled off stunning saves that ensured her side’s victory.
It was Elena Morozova who got the nod for the Player of the Match award as Group B leaders, Russia now look forward to their second match against Sweden in Deventer on Friday.
On the same day, an even tougher test against Germany awaits Italy in Tilburg.
In the meantime, defending champions Germany began their quest for a 7th straight title with a barren draw against fellow European heavyweights, Sweden.
The result in Breda means Germany have now failed to beat Sweden in a competitive tie for the first time after claiming victories in all their 11 previous meetings.
Germany’s Dzsenifer Marozsán was voted Player of the Match with the holders now looking to draw inspiration from four years ago when they also drew 0-0 in their opener and went on to clinch the EURO crown.