Emily Wilson·22 September 2023
Emily Wilson·22 September 2023
The inaugural UEFA Women’s Nations League kicked off on Friday with several international games.
The four League A group winners will move on to the playoff, where the champion will qualify for the 2024 Olympics.
Here is what went down.
Scorer: Geyoro 27′, Bacha 89′
France kicked off their Nations League campaign with a comfortable win over Portugal – but the visitors made them work for it.
Brilliant link up play from Eve Perisset, Eugenie Le Sommer and Grace Geyoro cut through defenders, and the Paris Saint-Germain star rolled home at the near post for 1-0.
Without the likes of injured Jessica Silva, Portugal struggled to threaten France at the other end and instead only registered one shot on target.
Impressively, it looked like the visitors would hold the hosts to just one goal (which would have been a brilliant takeaway from the night) until Selma Bacha drove into open space and struck from range for 2-0.
The result means France are top of their group above Austria and Norway while Portugal are last.
Scorers: Bronze 39′, Hemp 45′; Hanson 45+2′
England managed to beat old rivals Scotland by the skin of their teeth thanks to an entertaining first half.
Rachel Daly thought she had opened the scoring but saw her goal ruled out for offside. And while there was no VAR to claim otherwise, the Lionesses truly got the ball over the line through an unlikely name.
Lucy Bronze flung herself almost parallel with the pitch and got her head on a cross from Katie Zelem to beat goalkeeper Lee Helen Gibson for 1-0.
A second header at the hands of the hosts then found the net just before the half-time whistle via Lauren Hemp.
Scotland, however, suggested they wouldn’t go down without a fight. The hosts lost possession of the ball, and in the blink of an eye, Kirsty Hanson (who was a big threat all night) pulled things 2-1.
Claire Emslie and Hanson continued to push Scotland forward in the second half, but their momentum was still shy of England’s.
Fortunately for the visitors, they finished out the entire second half without conceding despite Ella Toone and Lauren James piling the pressure. Sarina Wiegman may want to do some tinkering after this performance.
Scorers: Detruyer 62′, Blom 90+3′; Roord 60′
A clash between neighbours kept fans on their toes on Friday with late heroics proving you should never switch off in stoppage time.
Not much could separate the sides over 90 minutes, with only nine combined shots on target (Dutch-led with six), though the visitors piled pressure on the hosts with 18 attempts.
It wasn’t until the hour mark that the match had a spark when both sides scored within 120 seconds of each other.
Jill Roord opened the scoring for the Netherlands after a team move down the left wing before Jassina Blom’s cross met Marie Detruyer in the blink of an eye for 1-1.
It appeared as though neither side would find the net again as the clock slowly counted down and the full-time whistle loomed.
Scorer: Caruso 64′
Italy managed to get the job done in their Nations League opener after a scrappy win in Switzerland.
Chances were few and far between over 90 minutes with only six shots on target combined (led by the hosts with four).
But one moment of brilliance from Juventus midfielder Arianna Caruso broke the deadlock just after the hour mark when her curling effort found the top right corner.
Scorers: Eriksson 23′, Hurtig 82′; Del Castillo 37′, Navarro 77′, Caldentey 90+6′ Red: Ilestedt 89′
In the wake of the Luis Rubiales scandal and significant overturn within the federation, Spain’s new manager Montse Tome kicked off the new era with a comeback win over Sweden.
Magdalena Eriksson headed home on her 100th appearance for her country, seeing the hosts take the lead and the visitors forced to shift into gear.
A strike from range by Athena del Castillo later tested goalkeeper Zećira Mušović, and while she initially saved it, the ball rolled up and backward into the net to equalise.
Spain dominated the remainder of the match and eventually showed why – even in the wake of such turmoil – the players are the best in the world.
Brilliant movement teed up Eva Navarro, who curled home at the top of the box for 2-1 until the ever-present Lina Hurtig responded immediately for Sweden.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup winners however were able to claim a late resilient victory when Amanda Ilestedt was sent off with a red card and Mariona Caldentey converted the subsequent penalty to beat FIFA’s highest-ranked side.
Spain currently top their group while Sweden are third.
Scorer: Vangsgaard 23′, 64′
Denmark made Germany pay for their lacklustre attack and subsequently cruised past the Euro 2022 finalists.
Paris Saint-Germain star Amalie Vangsgaard was the hero for the hosts, netting a brace. The first of which arrived thanks to a slip in the defence by Marina Hegering.
The likes of Alexandra Popp, Lina Magull and Lena Oberdorf couldn’t conjure up anything worthwhile for the visitors, who finished with zero shots, only one shot on target despite the majority possession.
One positive takeaway was seeing Giulia Gwinn finally return to the pitch.
Keep checking back here for more match results!