The Spaniards battled to beat Finland on Friday for the first match of Group B (4-1)

Deprived of Alexia Putellas and Jennifer Hermoso, the Spaniards fought to beat Finland this Friday, for the first match of group B (4-1). A capital success before facing Germany and Denmark, the two favorites of the pool.

All was not rosy for the Spaniards this Friday. On the lawn of Milton Keynes, the players of Jorge Vilda took their time to defeat Finland for the first match of Group B of Euro 2022 (4-1). Without the two stars Alexia Putellas and Jennifer Hermoso, the quarter-finalists of the last World Cup have preserved the essentials after being led. They take three vital points before facing Germany and Denmark, the two other favorites from Group B.

Match in brief: Spain fight back

Spain had Irene Guerrero and Lucía García filling the places of two injured stars, their most-capped player Alexia Putellas and all-time top scorer Jenni Hermoso. And they fell behind almost instantly as Anna Westerlund’s superb through ball was met by an angled finish by Sällström.

However, Spain quickly regrouped and took control, forcing a succession of corners; it was from their eighth, sent in by Mariona Caldentey, that Irene Paredes headed the equaliser. Aitana Bonmatí ensured Spain led at the break with a looping header from Mapi León’s cross, then ran to celebrate on the sidelines with Alexia, who was wearing the No14 shirt of another absent team-mate, Virginia Torrecilla, who underwent surgery on a brain tumour in 2020.

Little changed in the second half with Spain dominant, Laia Aleixandri coming off the bench and immediately making Tinja-Riikka Korpela save a header. The third goal came via the aerial route again as Mapi León’s teasing free-kick was nodded in by Lucía García. There was even time for a goal scored with a Spain foot, Caldentey converting a penalty with the final kick of the game following a foul on substitute Marta Cardona.

After this precious success, the Spaniards will have to raise the bar in the next matches, since Germany (Tuesday) and Denmark (16th) arrive. The two selections, which face each other this Friday at 9 p.m., are considered the favorites to reach the quarter-finals.


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