Germany and Spain earned four goals in their opening matches of the European Women’s Championship on Friday ahead of their group clash.
Lina Magull, Lea Schüller, Lena Lattwein and Alexandra Popp scored as Germany beat Denmark 4-0 at Brentford in west London early in their bid for a record ninth European title.
Bidding for a first major women’s title without injured World Player of the Year Alexia Putellas, Spain recovered from a cash-in after 49 seconds to beat Finland 4-1 in Milton Keynes.
After the defensive slip that allowed Linda Sällström to open the scoring, Spain captain Irene Paredes headed in Mariona Caldentey’s corner in the 26th minute.
Another header put Spain ahead in the 41st after Aitana Bonmatí connected with a cross from Mapi León, who also set Lucía García to nod in third in the 75th.
The Spanish victory was made even brighter in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Caldentey scored a penalty after Marta Cardona was fouled by Elli Pikkujämsä.
“It was a tough game at the start and we came back and that’s positive,” Bonmatí said. “That says a lot about our team. We overcame the adversities, the bad news, it’s a team. We know how to get up. »
Spain’s preparations for the 16-team tournament have been disrupted by Putellas tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in training this week.
It was smoother for Germany, who only reached the quarter-finals of the last European Championship and Women’s World Cup.
Magull jumped on a poor clearance before shooting in the opener in the 21st, but it took until Schüller’s header in the 57th to extend the lead. Lattwein scored the third in the 78th with a low finish, and Popp met Sydney Lohmann’s cross with a diving header in the 86th.
Denmark’s Kathrine Møller Kühl was sent off in stoppage time after a foul on Popp earned her a second booking.
“We got into it straight away and created a lot of scoring chances that we didn’t really take advantage of in the first half,” said German coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg. “We were incredibly dominant and aggressive. It was a great team effort. »
Germany and Spain face off in Group B on Tuesday in Brentford.
Group C begins on Saturday with the Netherlands opening their title defense against Sweden in Sheffield and Portugal taking on Switzerland in Leigh near Manchester.
Swiss manager Nils Nielsen criticized the pitch at his training base and the team had to move.
“I saw the pitch the day before training,” he said. “It wasn’t up to par and it wasn’t the fault of the people there, who were trying to prepare.
“The circumstances were that we couldn’t train there, which was a bit annoying. We found a very good solution by working with UEFA.”
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