The fallout of a failed campaign led to Wiener Neustadt’s creation in 1194 however England will keep in mind it because the place the place their World Cup qualifying mission was completed.
Though the town’s 3,000-capacity stadium, an hour’s drive south of Vienna, appeared a barely underwhelming setting for the Lionesses’ first match since profitable Euro 2022 in entrance of practically 90,000 followers at Wembley in July, it was maybe a becoming venue. A settlement constructed with the ransom cash paid by the English to safe King Richard I’s launch after his seize by Duke Leopold of Austria because the Lionheart returned from a failed try to take Jerusalem definitely appeared an acceptable springboard for an impending try at international domination.
Profitable subsequent yr’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand won’t be straightforward however there’s now a way that, with Alessia Russo round to guide the assault, something is feasible.
Russo’s seventh-minute volley – her ninth aim in 14 senior appearances – swiftly blew a gaping gap by means of Austria’s fastidiously constructed rearguard. Though they subsequently gave England a number of frights, the defence held agency.
The considerably unusual presence of a large pink water slide behind one of many stands – the stadium is located subsequent to an aqua park – lent a pre-season really feel to the event, and the comprehensible lack of on‑pitch sharpness through the first half particularly made it appear extra like a pleasant than a key qualifier.
Granted, Sarina Wiegman’s determination to begin Lauren Hemp on the appropriate wing and Beth Mead on the left fairly than of their customary positions on the other sides was arguably misguided, however England couldn’t have been anticipated to be at their greatest 34 days after beating Germany within the Euro 2022 closing and with the Girls’s Tremendous League not beginning till subsequent week.
Austria have been shedding quarter-finalists to Germany in that event however they too are of their home pre-season and didn’t resemble the cohesive counterattacking unit that suffered two slim 1-0 defeats to England previously 10 months, on this qualifying group and on the Euros.
Even so, they very practically equalised on the outset of the second half when Julia Hickelsberger was inches away from capitalising on Mary Earps’s uncommon lack of focus. Heeding that warning, England lastly started forcing the tempo and rediscovering a menacing one- and two-touch passing rhythm.
These kids who intentionally halted their descent by means of the water slide to soak up the motion have been handled to the sight of the Austria goalkeeper, Manuela Zinsberger, saving well together with her legs from Georgia Stanway after Russo’s adroit chesting down of a excessive ball.
In between elevated England strain Earps atoned for her earlier lapse in focus by displaying off super footwork as she seamlessly modified path to divert Laura Feiersinger’s dangerously curving shot to security.
By now there was no suspicion England had overindulged on the fantastically iced cake fairly touchingly offered to their supervisor by Austrian officers earlier than kick-off. Certainly, the one disgrace was that solely 2,600 followers – together with 28 who had travelled from the UK – have been current to observe Nikita Parris lash a second aim into the roof of the online eight minutes after she and England changed Russo and Mead.
As soon as a mainstay of England’s assault, Parris fairly misplaced her means throughout current stints with Lyon and Arsenal. Fortunately, her newest transfer, to Russo’s Manchester United, guarantees to revive a ahead who may but profit from the retirement of the Lionesses’ document goalscorer, Ellen White.
Regardless of the future holds, Parris’s well timed reminder of her latterly hibernating expertise made it an ideal anniversary for Wiegman, guaranteeing that, virtually a yr to the week since taking cost of England, the Dutchwoman presided over a nineteenth win in 21 video games.
Given the Lionesses are but to lose on her watch and have scored 108 targets whereas conceding 5, no group will need to be drawn of their group when October’s World Cup attract Auckland serves because the beginning gun for England’s subsequent marketing campaign.