Euro 2022: France lay down marker with demolition of Italy

France began their Euro 2022 campaign with a bang on Sunday evening as they thrashed Italy 5-1 in their opening Group D match.

All five of their goals came in a one-sided first half at Rotherham’s New York Stadium with Grace Geyoro helping herself to a hat-trick.

Earlier in the day, Belgium and Iceland were forced to settle for a 1-1 draw in an entertaining contest in Manchester.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at Sunday’s events at the tournament.

France make powerful statement

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After seeing the likes of England, Spain and Germany open with victories, France, another of the tournament’s favourites, laid down their own early marker in emphatic fashion.

Geyoro celebrated her 50th cap in style by opening the scoring against the hapless Italians after just nine minutes before Marie-Antoinette Katoto doubled the lead three minutes later.

Delphine Cascarino added a third with a superb long-range strike on 38 minutes before Geyoro bagged another two in quick succession before the break.

The French eased off the gas in the second half and Martina Piemonte claimed a consolation for Italy with a looping header 14 minutes from time. Italy had Sara Gama sent off following a reckless challenge but her red card was overturned by a VAR review.

Honours even in Manchester

Iceland and Belgium played out a 1-1 draw at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium in the group’s other game after Berglind Thorvaldsdottir’s header was cancelled out by a Justine Vanhaevermaet penalty.

Thorvaldsdottir made amends for a first-half penalty miss when she opened the scoring five minutes after the break by powering home from a Karolina Lea Vilhjalmsdottir cross.

Thorvaldsdottir had earlier shot tamely at goalkeeper Nicky Evrard from the spot after a handball by Davina Philtjens.

Belgium secured a point in an entertaining contest when Reading’s Vanhaevermaet tucked in from 12 yards following a foul on on Elena Dhont.

Star attraction

The choice of the Academy Stadium, which has a capacity of 4,400 for the tournament, had drawn criticism from Iceland prior to the competition, but what the ground lacked in size, those in attendance made up for in atmosphere.

Iceland’s prime minister Katrin Jakobsdottir was one of those who joined in the fun and was pictured enjoying the occasion. Belgium men’s manager Roberto Martinez was also among the crowd.

Stat of the day

Picture of the day

Quote of the day

We wanted to get off to a flying start in the first half and hats off to my players.

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July 11Group A: Austria v Northern Ireland (5pm, St Mary’s Stadium, Southampton)Group A: England v Norway (8pm, Amex Stadium, Brighton)

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