Women's Euro 2022: Host England gets campaign underway with hard-fought 1-0 victory over Austria

    Beth Mead's goal was the difference between the sides on a tense night at Old Trafford.

    Old Trafford, Manchester (CNN)It was nervy, it was a grind and, at times, it wasn't pretty, but England got the job done against Austria in the opening match of Euro 2022.

    Beth Mead's delicate lob after 15 minutes was all that separated the sides in a tense 1-0 England win at a raucous Old Trafford, as Sarina Wiegman's side secured a hard-earned three points that will no doubt settle the early tournament nerves.
    England certainly improved as the match went on and perhaps could have extended its margin of victory, but a lack of care and cohesion in the final third meant a number of good opportunities were squandered.
      Austria provided enough of a threat to ensure the match was never comfortable and Wiegman will know how much her team will need to improve if it is to live up to the hype of pre-tournament favorite.
        There was little celebration from England's Dutch head coach when the final whistle blew, but her players remained on the pitch to take in the adulation of the home crowd on a historic night. In total, 68,871 fans came to Old Trafford to watch the game, setting a new attendance record for a match at the Women's European Championships.
        With the final on July 31 scheduled to take place at Wembley Stadium, it's likely that record will be broken again. After Wednesday night's performance, however, the most pertinent question is whether England will be one of the teams that make it there.
          The match set a new record attendance for the Women's Euro.
          "The atmosphere speaks for itself," Player of the Match Georgia Stanway told reporters after the match. "The occasion is massive and, obviously, there are going to be a bit of nerves.
          "The noise [was the best thing about tonight], and although it was hard to hear information, the noise just shows where we're at. That's the standard the fans have set -- bring the noise and we can rattle the opposition."
          Stanway's admission that her teammates struggled to hear Wiegman's debrief in the post-match huddle gives some indication of the level of noise inside Old Trafford on Wednesday, as the players broke away prematurely to join in with the singing.
          "Next time, we need to delay 'Sweet Caroline' [after the final whistle]," she laughed.
          Neil Diamond's classic song became the theme tune to England's men's run to the Euro 2020 final last summer and the women's team will also be hoping to hear it a few more times during this tournament.

          Excitement and tension

          Walking the four miles or so from Manchester's Northern Quarter to Old Trafford on the outskirts, there was very little sign that in a matter of hours the city would be hosting the opening game of a major international competition.
          Save for a handful of fans in England shirts, it's unlikely anyone visiting would have known there was even a match at all.
          Organizers at the 2019 World Cup in France were criticized for what some perceived to be a lack of promotion for the tournament, and for all the palpable excitement there had been in the build-up to Euro 2022, the same problems seem to still persist here.
          Approaching Old Trafford, however, there was certainly no lack of enthusiasm from supporters, thousands of whom had congregated around the ground more than three hours before kick-off.
          They were confident, too. "Four-nil England," shouted one group, most of them wearing shirts bearing the name of Leah Williamson, the Lionesses' new captain.
          Their confidence is certainly not misplaced, as there is no doubting the world class talent England has all across the pitch. The only concern coming into this tournament was whether the players could cope with the weight of expectation of being favorite on home soil.
          In the build-up to the game, a number of the players spoke about the confidence that playing in front of home support would give them, but there were some palpable nerves early on.
          More than one errant pass gifted Austria possession in dangerous areas on the pitch, though a lack of end product meant England's mistakes went unpunished.