22 min: McFadden’s fine sliding clearance stops it from being 2-0 almost immediately, with Austria streaming forward in attack once again.
Puntigam whips a low free-kick into the mixer. It flicks off the two-woman defensive wall, and falls perfectly for Werder Bremen’s Scheichtl to glance the ball into the net with her right boot. You can’t say that hadn’t been coming given the all-round quality of Austria’s play. Defensively it was a bit soft, perhaps, but that’s a measure of the pressure that Northern Ireland have been under.
18 min: Dunst is a real livewire on the left for Austria. In general, they are all over Northern Ireland here and they look by far the better side. Now Vance hacks down Hickelsberger-Fuller on the edge of the box, and there are more nervous times for Kenny Shiels’s side.
16 min: Billa pounces on a defensive mix-up and a low cross is sent in towards Zadrazil. Burns rushes off her line, and does well to stop Austria’s Zadrazil from getting a clean contact on an attempted effort from the near post.
14 min: “Although I understand the sentiment, my immediate reaction to Rachel Furness holding up Simone Magill’s shirt was horror. Don’t they remember that’s what David Luiz did before a certain 7-1 thrashing to Germany?
“Yours, hoping the GAWA can buck that admittedly mini trend! Michael Gibson, a Northern Irishman in Hackney.”
12 min: Better from Northern Ireland, who have been under a lot of pressure early doors. Wade collects a long ball forward and embarks on a mazy run, gliding into a central position about 25 yards out. She shoots on target but the Arsenal goalie, Zinsberger, makes a comfortable enough save.
10 min: Northern Ireland attack through McGuinness on their left flank. She is isolated and the move breaks down – leaving Hickelsberger-Fuller to embark on an excellent driving run through the heart of the Northern Irish midfield. She caps that with a fine angled through-ball for Billa, who has a sight of goal, and cracks a low left-shooted shot into the side netting. Another warning for Northern Ireland …
7 min: Dunst floats a lovely curling cross from the left for Hickelsberger-Fuller. Holloway tries to track back, and her presence seems to be enough for Hickelsberger-Fuller to fluff her attempted header. That was a classy piece of work by Dunst to create the chance.
6 min: McGuinness fouls Hobinger on the Austria right. A chance to hoist a set-piece into the area for Austria … but the goalkeeper Burns is well positioned to snaffle the free-kick after it’s sent towards the six-yard box.
4 min: Hanshaw pumps an angled cross into the Northern Ireland area. It’s headed clear, but Austria immediately come forward again, a lovely bit of link-up play by Billa punching a hole in the defence. Northern ireland manage to repel the threat again.
2 min: Zadrazil, a creative force in the Austria attack who is always bursting with ideas, tries to make something happen in midfield but Northern Ireland deal with the danger. It’s a solid start from both defences.
Here we go! Austria wear red jerseys, white shorts and red socks. Northern Ireland are sporting white shirts with black shorts and socks.
There will be a water break midway through the first half.
Time for the national anthems. There’s a healthy crowd in at St Mary’s and they are making a serious noise, too. Austria’s players gee each other up and applaud at the conclusion of the anthem.
It’s forecast to drop a couple of degrees during the match, which will be a welcome development for the players. I’m not entirely sure how it can be 42C pitchside when the Southampton weather forecast says it’s 25C there at the moment. That seems like an unrealistically large difference. It sure is hot, anyway.
Now, the teams are in the tunnel, ready to walk out on the pitch.
Kenny Shiels, the Northern Ireland manager, has a chat with the BBC: “It’s only our second game. It’s a mighty task, but we relish it, and the players will relish it, and everybody in Northern Ireland, I hope, will be excited about it … We want to send a message back home that we’re not in it just for fun.
“I think it’s 42C [pitchside], it’s quite high that, highest I’ve ever remembered, we’re actually in the UK … the Spanish players will even suffer in this. I feel it. Who benefits from that, I don’t know. With fatigue, comes mistakes, and that will definitely bring a lot of fatigue to both sets of players. So there might be a lot of mistakes in the game, I don’t know.”
42C! Whoah. That is going to be tough for the players.
With every team at the tournament now having played once, Geyoro is the only player with more than one goal to her name. See the golden boot standings here:
France made history not once but twice in their 5-1 win against Italy last night. They became the first side to score five before half-time at the Women’s Euros, not to mention the fact that Grace Geyoro became the first player to notch a hat-trick within the first 45 minutes, too.
Read Peter Lansley’s match report here:
Kick-off will be coming up in 45 minutes:
Why not have a look at out complete guide to all 368 players at Euro 2022?
Northern Ireland’s captain Marissa Callaghan has said her side will play Monday’s Women’s Euro 2022 match against Austria in honour of their injured striker Simone Magill. Magill sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury during Northern Ireland’s opening game, a 4-1 hammering at the hands of Norway in Group A.
The captain Marissa Callaghan returns as one of four changes for Northern Ireland’s Euro 2022 clash with Austria in Southampton. The veteran midfielder, who came off the bench during her country’s 4-1 Group A defeat by Norway after recovering from injury, is recalled in addition to Rebecca McKenna, Kirsty McGuinness and Rebecca Holloway.
The forward Simone Magill is absent after suffering a tournament-ending knee injury against Norway, while Kelsie Burrows, Nadene Caldwell and Abbie Magee drop to the bench. Austria make three changes, bringing in Katharina Schiechtl, Marie Hobinger and Julia Hickelsberger-Fuller. The Arsenal defender Laura Wienroither is absent for the Austria due to a positive Covid-19 test. (PA Media)
Austria (4-1-4-1): Zinsberger; Scheichtl, Wenninger, Schnaderbeck, Hanshaw; Puntigam; Hickelsberger-Fuller, Zadrazil, Höbinger; Dunst; Billa.
Northern Ireland (4-4-2): Burns; Vance, McFadden, Nelson, McKenna; Holloway, McCarron, Callaghan, Furness; McGuinness, Wade.
Referee: Emikar Caldera Barrera (Venezuela). Assistant referees: Migdalia Rodriguez Chirino (Venezuela) and Mary Blanco Bolivar (Colombia). Fourth official: Marta Huerta De Aza (Spain).
Group A always looked a very difficult proposition for Northern Ireland on their international tournament debut, and a knee ligament injury suffered by the forward Simone Magill in last Thursday’s opening 4-1 defeat by Norway has made it tougher still.
The mood in camp remains upbeat, however, and the captain Marissa Callaghan believes Magill’s misfortune can even galvanise the squad to achieve victory in their teammate’s honour at St Mary’s this evening.
Austria gave the tournament hosts England an uncomfortable evening in the opening match, but like Northern Ireland, arrive here having played one, lost one. Neither side can realistically afford to lose if they are going to progress from this fiendishly tough group, so it’s effectively knockout football on the menu this evening.
Pre-match reading, team news and much more coming up.