UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Spain 4-1 Finland: Headed goals spark comeback

Linda Sällström's first-minute opener was responded to with three headers and a last-gasp penalty as Spain began in style.

Irene Paredes set Spain's comeback on its way
Irene Paredes set Spain's comeback on its way UEFA via Getty Images

Finland had hopes of a shock when Linda Sällström scored only the second first-minute goal in UEFA Women's EURO finals history but Spain, despite key injuries, underlined their status among the tournament favourites as they swiftly turned the game in Milton Keynes to win their Group B opener 4-1.

Key moments

1' Sällström strikes in 50 seconds
26' Paredes nods Spain level
41' Bonmatí scores with looping header
75' Lucía García makes it 3-1, also heading in
90+5' Caldentey penalty completes win

Match in brief: Spain fight back

Spain had Irene Guerrero and Lucía García filling the places of two injured stars, their most-capped player Alexia Putellas and all-time top scorer Jenni Hermoso. And they fell behind almost instantly as Anna Westerlund's superb through ball was met by an angled finish by Sällström.

Spain salute their injured record cap holder Alexia Putellas, who watched from the stands
Spain salute their injured record cap holder Alexia Putellas, who watched from the standsAFP via Getty Images

However, Spain quickly regrouped and took control, forcing a succession of corners; it was from their eighth, sent in by Mariona Caldentey, that Irene Paredes headed the equaliser. Aitana Bonmatí ensured Spain led at the break with a looping header from Mapi León's cross, then ran to celebrate on the sidelines with Alexia, who was wearing the No14 shirt of another absent team-mate, Virginia Torrecilla, who underwent surgery on a brain tumour in 2020.

Little changed in the second half with Spain dominant, Laia Aleixandri coming off the bench and immediately making Tinja-Riikka Korpela save a header. The third goal came via the aerial route again as Mapi León's teasing free-kick was nodded in by Lucía García. There was even time for a goal scored with a Spain foot, Caldentey converting a penalty with the final kick of the game following a foul on substitute Marta Cardona.

Visa Player of the Match: Aitana Bonmatí (Spain)

Aitana Bonmatí with her award
Aitana Bonmatí with her awardUEFA via Getty Images

"Dictated possession and tempo, linked with composure and technical quality. Scored the second goal."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Simon Hart, Spain reporter

In Alexia's absence, Aitana stepped up with an inspirational display as Spain shrugged off the sadness of the past few days as well as the setback of an early goal conceded. They showed their set-play power too on an evening when centre-backs Mapi León and Paredes both caught the eye too.

Mikael Erävuori, Finland reporter

If there were doubts about Finland before the tournament, they may be forgotten now despite the scoreline. After scoring inside just 50 seconds, they challenged Spain and should take plenty of confidence into their coming games as a result of this display.


Jorge Vilda, Spain coach: "We knew that Finland were a team who could hurt us in transitions. I never lost my conviction that we could come back into the game, with our players and potential."

Anna Signeul, Finland coach: "I don't think the scoreline tells the whole story of the match, we gave Spain a really tough time. Many of our players had a fantastic game, we worked really hard and stuck to our game plan. Spain, however, are really good in dead-ball situations and scored three goals from them. That is an area in which we must improve."

Irene Paredes, Spain captain: "We were in shock conceding a goal that early but luckily we have confidence in our team, in the work we do every day, so we just tried and tried and finally I think we deserved to win."

Mapi León, Spain defender: "We know in this type of competition a lot of goals are scored at set pieces. At times you don't give it the importance it deserves. It's an important point that we've worked on and keep working on in both boxes. Sometimes when you can’t settle a game with your football – the Spanish style – we can resolve them with these actions."

Finland celenbrate Linda Sällström's history-making goal
Finland celenbrate Linda Sällström's history-making goalAFP via Getty Images

Linda Sällström, Finland goalscorer: "It was a great start and of course it felt very good to get the opening goal so fast, but in the end that was not enough. This gave us more confidence anyway and I am really thankful for the Finnish crowd who supported us here today."

Anna Westerlund, Finland defender: "We knew Spain were a very good team. Conceding three goals from set pieces is a little disappointing but we can be proud of ourselves. We gave it our all for 90 minutes."

Key stats

  • Sällström's goal was the first in the opening minute of a finals game since the introduction of the group stage in 1997; the only previous first-minute strike in a final tournament was scored by England's Karen Farley against Germany in the second leg of the 1995 semis.
  • It was Sällström's first finals goal since the 2009 last-eight loss to England; that was her maiden competitive international strike in a game in which Westerlund, who set up tonight's goal, as well as Korpela, Tuija Hyyrynen and Essi Sainio also played.
  • Four of Paredes's ten Spain goals have come against Finland.
  • The 16,819 crowd is record for a Women's EURO group game not involving the hosts.
  • Spain scored four in a Women's EURO game for the first time and have already equalled their record goal tally for single group campaign.
  • This was Spain's biggest margin of victory at a Women's EURO, surpassing the 2-0 win against Portugal in 2017.


Spain: Paños; Batlle, Paredes, León, Ouahabi (Sheila García 61); Bonmatí (Del Castillo 79), Guijarro, Guerrero (Aleixandri 61); Lucía García (Pina 86), Esther González (Cardona 79), Caldentey

Finland: Korpela; Hyyrynen (Kuikka 66), Westerlund, Pikkujämsä, Koivisto; Engman (Sainio 46), Alanen, Summanen (Ahtinen 85), Öling (Rantanen 87); Sällström, Franssi (Danielsson 85)