Milton Keynes (UK) (AFP) – Spain bounced back from the loss of star midfielder Alexia Putellas by beating Finland 4-1, as Germany also kicked off their Euro 2022 campaign with a 4-0 win over Denmark on Friday.
La Roja had been pre-tournament favorites until reigning Ballon d’Or winner Putellas suffered a cruciate ligament injury in training on Tuesday.
However, Jorge Vilda’s side have shown why they are still in contention to win a first major women’s tournament despite falling one minute behind Linda Sallstrom’s goal.
Goals from Irene Paredes, Aitana Bonmati, Lucia Garcia and Mariona Caldentey extended Spain’s unbeaten run until March 2020.
Walking on crutches and wearing a Spanish jersey, Putellas was on hand to cheer on her teammates.
But the shock of losing their star wife turned into a slow start.
Anna Westerlund’s long striker played Sallstrom clean and the Paris FC striker produced a fine finish at the near post.
Spain settled into their passing rhythm with 70% possession.
But with all-time top scorer Jennifer Hermoso also out of the tournament through injury, they had to rely on the unusual path of crosses into the box to turn the tide.
Captain Paredes started the comeback when she returned a header from Caldentey’s corner.
Little Aitana Bonmati then produced a superb header into the top corner to calm Spanish nerves before half-time.
Garcia secured the points 15 minutes from time when she nodded Maria Leon’s free-kick into the bottom corner before Caldentey netted a penalty with the game’s final kick.
– Germany destroys Denmark –
Germany produced a stunning spectacle to dismantle Euro 2017 finalists Denmark in London.
The eight-time winners were dominant from the start and could have been out of sight before half-time as Felicitas Rauch hit the crossbar twice.
Lina Magull finally made the pressure of the Germans count. The Bayern Munich striker exploded into the roof of the net after attacking Stine Pedersen’s attempted clearance.
Lea Schuller came home from a corner to double Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s women’s lead just before the hour mark.
Svenja Huth was denied the goal his performance deserved by the offside flag.
But Germany completed a superb performance with two more goals in the final 12 minutes.
Lena Lattwein smashed a loose ball from close range before Alexandra Popp completed a nice team move heading for the back post.
Denmark had been tipped as title contenders but their miserable night was summed up when Kathrine Moller Kuhl was sent off in stoppage time for a second bookable offence.
Germany next face Spain in a blockbuster clash at Brentford Community Stadium on Tuesday.