Batlle’s Spain kick off Euro 2022 with victory

Saturday 09 July 2022 12:23

Manchester United Women’s defender Ona Batlle played the full 90 minutes for Spain as they overcame Finland 4-1 in their opening Euro 2022 match.

The Reds’ full-back started at right-back and had to help her nation, who are among the tournament’s favourites, to come from behind after going 1-0 down inside the opening minute of the contest at Stadium MK.

They would do that by scoring four goals, two in each half, for the first time ever in a Women’s Euro, in front of a competition-record crowd for a group-stage game not involving the host nation (16,819).


Finland’s opener, the earliest strike in Women’s Euro group-stage history, came courtesy of a composed low finish from Linda Sallstrom. 

But Batlle and Spain would nod their way into the ascendency in response, with headed goals from Irene Paredes and Aitana Bonmati before half-time. 

Our no.17 then worked a golden opportunity for herself to get on the scoresheet on her major-tournament debut in the second half.

Ona broke forward on the counter-attack, drove into the penalty area before showcasing a neat piece of footwork to create some space for a shot that was well saved by the Finnish goalkeeper. 
The 23-year-old was denied there but had reason to celebrate not long after when Lucia Garcia scored Spain’s third, with another header, before a late penalty from Mariona Caldentey sealed the win in stoppage time.

The result took La Roja temporarily top of Group B before Germany impressively dismissed Denmark 4-0 later in the day to claim the group’s summit on goal difference after the opening round of Group B fixtures. 

Spain meet Germany next, on Tuesday (20:00 BST), at the Brentford Community Stadium. 

Victory for the Spanish team means that all of our Reds that have already been involved in this summer’s tournament have tasted victory in their opening fixtures, following wins for England and Norway on Wednesday and Thursday respectively. 

United midfielder Jackie Groenen will be hoping for a similar reason to celebrate later on, as she and the Netherlands kick off their defence of the trophy with their curtain-raiser against Sweden at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane (20:00 BST).

Also in Group C this evening, Portugal take on Switzerland (17:00 BST).