London: Germany and Spain enjoyed four-goal wins in their opening matches at the Women’s European Championship on Friday ahead of their group clash.
Lina Magull, Lea Schuller, Lena Lattwein and Alexandra Popp scored as Germany routed Denmark 4-0 in Brentford in west London at the start of their bid for a record-extending ninth European title.
Bidding for a first major women’s title without injured World Player of the Year Alexia Putellas, Spain recovered from conceding after 49 seconds to beat Finland 4-1 in Milton Keynes.
After the defensive lapse that allowed Linda Sallstrom to score the opener, Spain captain Irene Paredes headed in Mariona Caldentey’s corner in the 26th minute.
Another header put Spain in front in the 41st after Aitana Bonmati connected with a cross from Mapi Leon, who also set up Lucia Garcia to nod in the third in the 75th.
Further gloss was put on the Spanish win in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Caldentey netted a penalty after Marta Cardona was fouled by Elli Pikkujamsa.
‘‘It was a difficult match at the start and we came back and that’s a positive,’’ Bonmati said. ‘‘It says a lot about our team. We have overcome adversities, bad news - this is a team. We know how to pick ourselves up.’’
Spain’s preparations for the 16-team tournament were disrupted by Putellas tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee during practice this week.
It has been smoother for Germany, which reached only the quarter finals at the last European Championship and Women’s World Cup.
Magull pounced on a poor clearance before firing in the opener in the 21st but it took until Schuller’s header in the 57th to extend the lead. Lattwein netted the third in the 78th with a low finish, and Popp met Sydney Lohmann’s cross with a diving header in the 86th.
Denmark’s Kathrine Moller Kuhl was sent off in stoppage time after a foul on Popp earned a second booking.
Germany and Spain meet in Group B on Tuesday in Brentford.
Group C begins on Saturday with the Netherlands opening their title defense against Sweden in Sheffield and Portugal playing Switzerland in Leigh near Manchester.