LONDON (AP) — Germany and Spain enjoyed four-goal wins in their opening matches at the Women’s European Championship on Friday ahead of their group clash.
Lina Magull, Lea Schüller, Lena Lattwein and Alexandra Popp scored as Germany routed Denmark 4-0 in Brentford in west London at the start of its bid for a record-extending ninth European title.
Bidding for a first major women’s title without injured world player of the year Alexia Putellas, Spain recovered from conceding after 49 seconds to beat Finland 4-1 in Milton Keynes.
After the defensive lapse that allowed Linda Sällström to score the opener, Spain captain Irene Paredes headed in Mariona Caldentey’s corner in the 26th minute.
Another header put Spain in front in the 41st after Aitana Bonmatí connected with a cross from Mapi León, who also set up Lucía García to nod in the third in the 75th.
Further gloss was put on the Spanish win in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Caldentey netted a penalty after Marta Cardona was fouled by Elli Pikkujämsä.
“It was a difficult match at the start and we came back and that’s a positive,” Bonmatí said. “It says a lot about our team. We have overcome adversities, bad news — this is a team. We know how to pick ourselves up.”
Spain’s preparations for the 16-team tournament were disrupted by Putellas tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during practice this week.
It has been smoother for Germany, which reached only the quarterfinals at the last European Championship and Women’s World Cup.
Magull pounced on a poor clearance before firing in the opener in the 21st but it took until Schüller’s header in the 57th to extend the lead. Lattwein netted 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 a second booking.
“We were at it right away and created plenty of scoring chances that we didn’t really take advantage of in the first half,” Germany coach Martina Voss-Tecklenburg said. “We were incredibly dominant and aggressive. It was a great team effort.”
Germany and Spain meet in Group B on Tuesday in Brentford.
Group C begins on Saturday with the Netherlands opening its title defense against Sweden in Sheffield and Portugal playing Switzerland in Leigh near Manchester.
Switzerland manager Nils Nielsen has been critical of the field at its training base and the team had to move locations.
“I saw the pitch the day before we had to train,” he said. “It wasn’t up to standard and it wasn’t the fault of the people there, that were trying to prepare.
“The circumstances were we couldn’t train there which was a bit annoying. We found a very good solution working with UEFA.”
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