England Women stroll past Austria in final home warm-up for Euro campaign

Tony Leighton at Stadium:MK
The Guardian
<span class="element-image__caption">Isobel Christiansen celebrates scoring England’s third goal in their 3-0 friendly win against Austria.</span> <span class="element-image__credit">Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters</span>
Isobel Christiansen celebrates scoring England’s third goal in their 3-0 friendly win against Austria. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Goals from the Birmingham City striker Ellen White and Manchester City’s Lucy Bronze and Izzy Christiansen gave England a well-earned win in the last of their home fixtures before the European Championship finals in the Netherlands.

Only three goals had been scored in England’s six matches this year but against a physical Austria side whose main aim looked to be damage limitation, Mark Sampson’s team regained their shooting touch. They went into the game with three changes to the starting lineup from the 1-1 draw with Italy on Friday night and it was two of the new players who combined to open the scoring after five minutes. Christiansen crossed from the left and White, who had missed the Friday game because of a slight injury, sent a glancing header just inside the far post.

The sharp opening by England promised a more productive evening than on Friday, when 28 shots were fired at the Italy goal with such a meagre return. But against some overly robust Austrian defending – and at times 10 players behind the ball – it was difficult to build any real momentum.

Toni Duggan went close just after the half-hour, when the striker’s header from a Jordan Nobbs cross was pushed past the post by Manuela Zinsberger in goal.

Towards half-time Austria broke forward on a couple of occasions but threatened only once, the left‑back Verena Aschauer sending in a 20-yard effort but straight at the goalkeeper, Siobhan Chamberlain.

England should have doubled their lead four minutes after the interval but Duggan, sent clear by the midfielder Jade Moore, put her 10-yard shot too close to Zinsberger who pushed the ball wide. From the resultant corner Christiansen had two shots in quick succession blocked on the line by the goalkeeper, then Nobbs skied an angled shot over the bar.

The game was now following a similar pattern to the match on Friday but a second goal finally arrived in the 67th minute: Christiansen’s 15-yard lob bounced back off the bar but Bronze dashed in to force the ball over the line.

After White had forced a fine diving save from Zinsberger, Christiansen wrapped up victory four minutes from time. The captain, Steph Houghton, headed on a Nobbs corner for the midfielder to touch a low header beyond the keeper’s reach.

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