Spain battle back from early deficit to brush aside Finland in Euro 2022 opener

Linda Sallstrom had put Finland ahead after just 50 seconds.

By Press Association Published: 8 July 2022 - 6.18pm

Spain overcame the shock of conceding in the first minute to open their Euro 2022 campaign with a convincing 4-1 win over Finland in Milton Keynes.

The much-fancied Spaniards were stunned when Linda Sallstrom struck with just 50 seconds on the clock in the Group B opener on Friday.

It felt like another hefty blow coming after loss of star player Alexia Putellas through injury earlier this week.

Yet they soon hit back through captain Irene Paredes and Aitana Bonmati levelled before half-time. Lucia Garcia made victory safe after the break and Mariona Caldentey added gloss with an injury-time penalty.

The game got off to a remarkable start as an early Spain attack broke down on halfway and Anna Westerlund swept the ball forward.

Sallstrom was quick to latch onto it and raced into the area before firing home a low shot that went in off the far post.

The damage caused by that swift attack down the right was something Finland tried to repeat but Sallstrom fluffed a shot the next time they tried it and Adelina Engman later dragged a shot across goal.

Linda Sallstrom opened the scoring for Finland in the first minute
Linda Sallstrom opened the scoring for Finland in the first minute (Nigel French/PA)

Spain soon recovered their composure and began to dictate the pace of the game.

Caldentey and Esther Gonzalez both shot at Tinja-Riikka Korpela from distance as they began to get a grip and Patri Guijarro had a header ruled out after the ball went out of play in the build-up.

The equaliser came after 26 minutes as Paredes got forward to meet a Caldentey corner and power a header past Korpela.

Bonmati then put Spain ahead four minutes before the break with a well-flighted header from a Mapi Leon cross.

Mariona Caldentey wrapped up the win from the penalty spot
Mariona Caldentey wrapped up the win from the penalty spot (Nigel French/PA)

Spain started the second half brightly and went close when Manchester United’s Ona Batlle jinked her way into the area and forced a good save from Korpela.

The keeper then did even better to keep out a firm header from substitute Laia Aleixandri. Spain’s dominance continued as Gonzalez glanced a header wide.

The result was put beyond doubt 15 minutes from time as Garcia nodded home from a Leon free-kick.

Athenea del Castillo almost added another late on but Korpela tipped her effort round the post.

The scoring was wrapped up in injury time as Caldentey calmly tucked home from the spot after a tired challenge on Marta Cardona by Elli Pikkujamsa.

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