England Defeat Austria 3-0 in Friendly, Earn 1st Victory in 3 Matches

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistApril 10, 2017

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - APRIL 10:  Lucy Bronze of England (obscured left) celebrates as she scores their second goal with team mates during the Women's International Friendly match between England and Austria at Stadium mk on April 10, 2017 in Milton Keynes, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

England picked up their first win in three matches after beating Austria 3-0 at Stadium MK in a friendly on Monday, where Ellen White broke the deadlock before Lucy Bronze and Isobel Christiansen pitched in with second-half goals.

White found the opener after just five minutes to ease the pressure on Monday's hosts, and England proceeded to hammer down on the Austrian back line before it eventually wilted under an onslaught of pressure.

The Lionesses redeemed themselves after missing a barrage of chances during Friday's disappointing 1-1 draw against Italy, although manager Mark Sampson will know his side are capable of much, much more.

UEFA Women's Euro pointed out Austria will also be present at the UEFA Women's Championship in July, although only England will be treating Monday's result as a positive building block:

England were made to pay for a series of wasted opportunities against Italy last Friday, but it was clear from the start of Monday's meeting that the hosts wouldn't be liable to commit the same errors against the Austrians.

Christiansen swung a perfectly weighted cross into the Austrian area from the left flank, and a slight flick on from White was all that was needed for the forward to angle her header inside the far post:

Just as was the case in England's previous outing, the home side continued to push their advantage in chances in front of goal for the remainder of the half and were unfortunate not to find a second.

Toni Duggan was among those who could have advanced England's lead before the break but saw her 30th-minute chance saved from short range, although one felt it was only a matter of time before the Lionesses pounced again:

That being said, Austria manager Dominik Thalhammer will have been buoyed by his team making it to the half-time whistle with just a one-goal deficit to chase down—at least for the time being.

However, the pendulum of momentum continued to swing in favour of the hosts when the match resumed after the break, and it was at the 70th-minute mark that pressure finally told once again.

Austria goalkeeper Manuela Zinsberger was partly to blame for England's second as Bronze made the opposition No.1 pay for her mistake and scrambled home after the ball bounced back off the crossbar, per UEFA's Paul Saffer:

The visiting outfit went from half-time hopefuls to finding themselves struggling to keep pace in a matter of 10 minutes, with the guests' defence pulled all over the park in their effort to match England's pace.

Once again, that lack of stamina in defence told as Christiansen appeared to get a touch on a Steph Houghton header in order to divert it past Zinsberger, who was again left regretting an error in between the posts:

England now have a two-month wait before their next friendly outing against Switzerland on June 10, where they'll continue their preparation for this summer's UEFA Women's Championship.

Austria will also be at the summer spectacle starting in June, although with no further warm-up friendlies on their schedule, the European hopefuls may struggle to sufficiently prepare for the upcoming campaign.

 

Post-Match Reaction

Sampson was impressed by England's second-half display.
Sampson was impressed by England's second-half display.Michael Regan/Getty Images

England manager Sampson wasn't without his praise of Austria in his post-match comments, but the tactician couldn't help but laud his side for such a strong display in their last home game before the Euros.

Speaking to the media in his post-match press conference, Sampson hailed the second-half display in particular, per BBC Sport:

Austria's physicality and tactical nous caused us some problems in the first half but without ever threatening our goalkeeper. Our performance in the second half was excellent, from one to 11. There was really good balance to our game.

We were hurt a little bit by our recent record. We felt hard-done by in terms of results. It was big to win. It was important. We needed that. We were under a bit of pressure after one win in six. If we want to be the best team in the world, we need to start winning matches consistently.

The Lionesses have one more warm-up game before this summer's tournament and will face Switzerland in June before taking on one more friendly before making their way to the Netherlands for the Euros.

Sampson will undoubtedly feel his team can make distinct improvements before the Euros get underway in July, but opportunities to do so are running short.