With a 2-0 (1-0) win against Northern Ireland, Austria kept their chance of progressing. The final group match against Norway will be decisive. The two goals were scored by players from the German Bundesliga.
In glorious summer weather at the Southampton stadium, the starting position was clear: both teams had lost their opening games: Austria 0-1 against England, Northern Ireland 1-4 against Norway. Only a win would help here if you still wanted a vague chance of reaching the knockout round.
Austria, who recently won a World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland 3-1, went into the match as favourites. And that’s what it looked like right after kick-off on the pitch: Austria took control, Northern Ireland initially entrenched themselves on the defensive.
Puntigam drives, Schiechtl scores – 1:0
Driven by midfield director Sarah Puntigam, who will also play for 1. FC Köln in the Bundesliga next season, there were also chances to score. Nicole Billa from TSG Hoffenheim gave the best shot, which was played free on the right half in the 10th minute. However, Germany’s “Footballer of the Year 2021” shot wide of the post from a goal distance of 13 meters.
However, the Austrians soon took the lead: After 19 minutes, Puntigam brought a free-kick from the inside right in front of the goal and EM debutant Katharina Schiechtl from Werder Bremen converted from close range with the right to make it 1-0, which was overdue for a long time. By then, Austria had acquired a whopping 70 percent possession of the ball.
Northern Ireland harmless
Northern Ireland, without their best player Simone Magill – the Aston Villa attacker injured her knee against Norway – failed offensively in the first half. The fact that they were “only” 0-1 at the break was mainly thanks to goalkeeper Jackie Burns, who in the 41st minute steered a lob by Barbara Dunst over the crossbar with her fingertips.
Rare: Northern Ireland in attack – here Lauren Wade
The Northern Irish keeper was lucky after a good hour – the initial phase of the second half was uneventful – with another shot by Dunst. The Eintracht Frankfurt striker put in a superb volley from the edge of the box in the middle of the goal – Burns just barely deflected the ball over the bar.
Austria can be pushed back
Overall, however, the Northern Irish have now ventured a little further forward, which could also have resulted in new areas for Austria. However, the women from the Alpine Republic increasingly let themselves be pushed back and gave the game more and more out of hand. Northern Ireland’s Kirsty McGuinness tested Austria’s goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger for the first time after 65 minutes.
Overall, however, Northern Ireland’s attacking game remained too transparent and flawed, so that the Austrians were able to score the 2-0 goal (88th) and thus the decision in the final phase through substitute Katharina Naschenweng from TSG Hoffenheim. Now with three points, the team has a chance of progressing to the knockout stage in the final group game against Norway.
Austria 2-0 Northern Ireland (1-0)
Gates: 1-0 Schiechtl (19′), 2-0 Naschenweng (88′)
Referee: Emikar Calderas (Venezuela)
Austria: Zinsberger – Schiechtl, Wenninger, Schnaderbeck (46th Georgieva), Hanshaw – Puntigam – Hickelsberger (71st Naschenweng), Zadrazil, Höbinger (46th Feiersinger), Dunst – Billa
Northern Ireland: Burns – McKenna (70th Magee), Nelson, McFadden, Vance – Furness (80th Andrews), Callaghan, McCarron, Holloway – Wade, McGuinness (79th Wilson)