Women's Euros: England's Bronze backs Putellas to bounce back with Barca and Spain

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Lucy Bronze described Spain's setback of losing Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas as "devastating" and a blow to the women's game as a whole.

England star Bronze, who will become a team-mate of Putellas next season after recently signing for Barcelona, backed the 28-year-old to rebound from her crushing Euro 2022 disappointment.

Putellas, who has scored 27 goals in 100 international appearances, suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in training on Tuesday and will play no part in the tournament that began on Wednesday.

"For anyone who suffers an ACL, it's devastating," Bronze said. "My old team-mate [Lyon's Germany international Dzsenifer] Marozsan did her ACL just before the tournament, and I was devastated for her, and now Alexia as well.

"Obviously she's one of the best players in the world – the best player in the world right now – and one of my team-mates.

"For women's football, we want the best players on the pitch. I'm sure she'll get straight back to Barcelona, and they'll want to get her back on the pitch and fighting fit.

"I'm sure she'll be back playing for Barca as soon as possible, and the World Cup is still to come next year, so she's still got plenty of time and plenty of stages to shine."

Putellas' absence is a colossal blow for Spain, with the 28-year-old having top-scored in the Champions League with 11 goals last season.

Bronze, who has battled knee problems during her own career, is hoping for a clean bill of health in the England camp throughout the finals.

The hosts began with a 1-0 win over Austria at Old Trafford, in front of almost 70,000 supporters.

Bronze said the occasion was "huge", but it was a scrappy showing from England, with Beth Mead's first-half goal proving just enough.

"We know we can improve on that performance," Bronze said. "Especially under [coach] Sarina [Wiegman] we score a lot of goals and play exciting football and I don't think we did that at our best. We didn't quite click and didn't quite get in the flow.

"Ultimately, the best teams have to win even when they're not playing at their best, so we managed to show that which is a different side to this England team."

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