England’s players applaud fans after beating Austria in Euro 2022 opener | Soccer

England v Austria: Group A - UEFA Women's EURO 2022

England captain Leah Williamson thanked fans after the Austria win (Picture: Getty)

England’s players have thanked the record number of fans who turned up for the opening game of Euro 2022 against Austria.

The three lionesses opened the tournament with one 1-0 win over Austria, with a crowd of 68,871 creating a lively atmosphere at Old Trafford and breaking the attendance record for a Women’s European Championship game.

It wasn’t England’s best performance, but the noise level in Manchester didn’t drop for a moment and the players thanked the stadium with a lap of honor at the end of the game.

England v Austria: Group A - UEFA Women's EURO 2022

Beth Mead scored the winner against Austria (Picture: Getty)

‘Beyond words. What a great night to start the tournament with a win,” Beth Mead, who scored the deciding goal, told BBC Sport.

“I am very happy to score a goal for the team. “I was pretty sure [it was across the line] but you always doubt yourself when a little time goes by.

“Listen to the atmosphere, amazing. I want to tell you that we could hear what they [manager Sarina Wiegman] said but it’s so loud we couldn’t hear it!

“We were all into Sweet Caroline. She’ll probably have the debrief in the dressing room.”

A record 68,871 fans watched the game at Old Trafford (Picture: Getty)

Unfortunately, this is the only time Old Trafford will be used for the tournament, with the rest of the games being played in far smaller capacity stadiums.

The rest of England’s group games will be played at Brighton’s Amex Stadium but the final will be played at Wembley Stadium and with a capacity of 90,000 spectators the record could well be broken again.

Regardless, England captain Leah Williamson was grateful for Wednesday night’s support and hopes it can continue next month.

She said: “It was quite special. I had no idea what to expect. We took it really well.

“I closed my eyes during the national anthem. If I looked at Mom, I would have started crying if I interfered too much. I kept it in check.

“What an occasion. The fans came out and we bonded well. It was a good start to the tournament.

‘It’s noisy. Communication becomes more difficult. Sometimes it gets in the way, but I would take this any day. Good atmosphere.’

MORE : England start Euro 2022 with narrow win over Austria

MORE: ‘We can do better!’ – Sarina Wiegman’s verdict on England’s win over Austria at Euro 2022

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General Sports England's players applaud fans after beating Austria in Euro 2022 opener | Soccer

Nate Jones

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