There were 4,781 at the De Adelaarshorst stadium on Tuesday as Austria enjoyed a delightful Women’s EURO debut at the expense of fellow newcomers, Switzerland.
Although Switzerland can boast of an added advantage in experience, following their first appearance on the international stage which came at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada in 2015, that counted for nothing against their neighbours Austria who have now celebrated their own bow on the international stage with a sensational victory.
Stand-in captain Nina Burger scored the only goal that delivered the goods in the 15th minute. The 29-year-old led by example in the absence of Bayern Munich’s Viktoria Schnaderbeck.
Meanwhile Switzerland’s late charge for a share of the spoils was hampered when central defender Rahel Kiwic was given her marching orders.
Bibiana Steinhaus was the woman with the whistle. She officiated the final of this year’s UEFA Women’s Champions League and is set to become the first woman to referee in the men’s German Bundesliga next season.
Elsewhere, Iceland fans obviously continued from where they stopped last summer in terms of supporting their team with their presence and their famous “Thunderclap” as they tried to intimidate France at the Willem II Stadion in Tilburg.
But, their hearts were broken in the 86th minute no thanks to a penalty taken by Eugénie Le Sommer for France who had prior to that time struggled to penetrate a disciplined Iceland.
France coach, Olivier Echouafni said: “I would like to congratulate the Icelandic team to begin with. They played with heart, courage and skill, but I am unsurprised. We studied their game before and we knew that it would be tough.
“We know starting a competition is always difficult, so tonight we will say it is a positive result for us, but we know we have to correct some things and we will. We didn’t concede so that’s a good thing and we created around 20 chances.
“We were in difficulty, namely when the Icelandic players were very aggressive in their play, but our pressure was rewarded with a goal.”