Group D Reflections

Impetus Jean-Pierre Thiesset looks back on yesterday’s opening round of matches in Group D at Euro 2022 and saw his own nation produce a statement-making start (11/7/22).

Above: France’s first-half hat-trick hero Grace Geyoro. Photo: Euro 2022.

Belgium 1-1 Iceland

Iceland had just about the better of this match played at the Academy Stadium in Manchester.

Above: Berglind Bjorg Thorvaldsdottir celebrates after putting Iceland ahead. Photo: Euro 2022.

Backed by their superb fans who created a great atmosphere, Sveindis Jane Jonsdottir, whose long throw-ins are a real weapon, Karolina Lea Vilhjalmsdottir (who made some decisive passes), and goalscorer Berglind Bjorg Thorvaldsdottir were the pick of the crop. Indeed, Thorvaldsdottir could have made things even better for Iceland if she had not missed a penalty in the 32nd minute.

Apart from the last 20th minutes of the game, after having scored from a penalty, Belgium did not show a lot – which is frustrating for them as a win would have gone a long way to enabling them to qualify for the Quarter-Finals.

Above: Justine Vanhaevermaet levels the scores from the spot for Belgium. Photo: Euro 2022.

Teams: BELGIUM (4-2-3-1) Evrard, Philtjens, De Neve, Kees, Vangheluwe, Biesmans, Vanhaevermaet, Cayman, De Caigny, Dhont (Eurlings 78′), Wullaert, (Kerkhoven 90+3′).

Scorer: Vanhaevermaet 67′ (pen).

ICELAND (4-3-3): Sigurdardottir, Gunnlaugsdottir, Arnadottir, Viggosdottir, Atladottir, Gunnarsdottir (Albertsdottir 86′), Brynjarsdottir, Vilhjalmsdottir (Johannsdottir 90’+2) – Jonsdottir, Thorvaldsdottir (Gundmundsdottir 72′), Jonsdottir.

Scorer: Thorvaldsdottir 50′.

Referee: Tess Olofsson.

Attendance: 3,859.

Above: There was so much for France to celebrate last night. Photo: Euro 2022.

France 5-1 Italy

France produced a superb performance, especially in the first half to comprehensively defeat Italy in Rotherham.

The opening period, in which they scored all of their five goals saw the French beating two records: the largest score in first half in a Euros game, and the first time that a player had scored a hat-trick in first half in a Euros match – an honour that went to Grace Geyoro.

Ahead of kick-off, there were a few questions asked of Corinne Diacre, France coach, about her selection. For example, she put in Aissatou Tounkara instead of Griedge Mbock in central defence with Wendie Renard (Tounkara played in the last two games with Mbock as Renard was not ready to play) and left out Amandine Henry in midfield, but the show put on by France players demonstrated that so far that she seems to have made the right decision.

Above: Delphine Cascarino making it 3-0 for France. Photo: Euro 2022.

Of course, in the second half, the momentum slowed and Italy gained more possession, but overall Diacre’s team showed that they do have the quality to potentially win this competition.

France completely asphyxiated the Italians in the first half, producing a very good performance with a superb performance of precise and quick passing to advance using all their players.

Teams: FRANCE (4-4-2): Peyraud-Magnin, Karchaoui (Baltimore 88′), Renard, Tounkara, Périsset, Toletti, Bilbault, Geyoro (Dali 67′), Cascarino (Malard 67′), Katoto (Sarr 77′), Diani (Bacha 78′).

Scorers: Geyoro 9′, 40′, 45′. Katoto 12′, Cascarino 38′.

ITALY (4-3-3) Giuliani, Boattin, Linari, Gama, Bartoli, Caruso (Piemonte 74′), Giugliano (Simonetti 46′), Galli (Rosucci 46′), Bonansea (Di Guglielmo 81′), Girelli (Giacinti 58′), Bergamaschi.

Scorer: Piemonte 76′.

Referee: Rebecca Welch (England).

Attendance: 8,541.

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