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Nikoline Frandsen scored midway through the second half as Denmark made a winning start to the 2013 UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship, but last year's semi-finalists were made to work hard for their points.
Wales proved dogged opponents in Llanelli and it took a well-worked free-kick on 61 minutes to break through the wall of red shirts. As Anna Fisker placed the ball near the corner flag six players lined up on the edge of the box and, springing her marker and running towards the near post, Frandsen turned her delivery in.
Until then the match had been tentative, with clear-cut chances at a premium. When opportunities arose they were more often from slips, misplaced passes than guile – twice Wales were almost punished early on.
First Alys Hinchcliffe came to the hosts' rescue when hesitation on the edge of the box from Alice Evans and Lauren Price allowed Frederikke Thøgersen in. Soon after Angharad James, seeking a pass, was pick-pocketed just outside the area and it took strong hands from Evans to keep out Camilla Andersen's stinging shot.
Andersen, scorer of eight goals in qualifying, was lively throughout the first half, her full repertoire of attacking skills keeping the Wales back line guessing. Yet Jarmo Matikainen's side held firm and, as the nervy novelty of their first finals game wore off, they were soon holding their own – at least until they reached the final third.
Denmark's dead-ball prowess had asked several questions in the first period and just after the hour Wales had no answer as left-back Frandsen stole in. It proved enough for the Group A spoils, with a second Denmark goal more likely than an equaliser. Wales ended with credit, however, and will hope for more reward when they meet England on Thursday, when the Danes meet France.
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