England midfielder Georgia Stanway insisted that getting the all important win was the most crucial thing following the Lionesses’ narrow 1-0 victory over Austria in their Euro 2022 opener, while admitting there was room for improvement in her side’s performance.
The Lionesses edged to a narrow win over their stubborn opponents thanks to Beth Mead’s 16th minute lob in front of a record crowd for a Women’s European Championship fixture at Old Trafford.
The victory was perhaps not as straight forward as England would have liked and a nervy last 10 minutes ensued due to their slender one-goal advantage.
“I’m fortunate to have been to a few major tournaments, whether that be at youth or senior (level), and I think the most important thing that’s drilled into you is how important winning that first game is,” said Stanway. “Whether that be for momentum, just getting points on the board puts you in kind of a good position.
“So that was the main focus for today; just getting points on the board, just being able to settle ourselves into the game. Obviously it wasn’t at the standard we want to be at, but there’s room for improvement.”
Stanway was embroiled in a real battle in midfield with Austria duo Sarah Zadrazil and Laura Feiersinger, but impressed with her tenacity and energy.
The 23-year-old admitted she enjoyed the physical challenge, and praised Austria’s performance, as they ensured the Lionesses didn’t have it all their own way at Old Trafford.
“I think that’s a bit of me. I quite enjoyed the rough and tumble today,” Stanway said of the midfield battle. “Give it to Austria, they were unbelievable. They challenged us in areas and put us outside of our comfort zone but they’re the moments where we’ve got to live up to who we are and I think that was proven today. “