France 1-0 Denmark France got off to a winning start thanks to Marie-Charlotte Léger, but she had a penalty saved while Delphine Cascarino was injured.
Article top media content
• Marie-Charlotte Léger scores only goal to give France all three Group A points
• Léger has added-time penalty saved and France lose Delphine Cascarino to injury
• France coach Gilles Eyquem "proud of the girls" but rues missed chances
• Søren Randa-Boldt "not disheartened" but admits Denmark could have lost by more
• Next matches: Sweden v Denmark, Israel v France (Saturday)
France kicked off WU19 EURO Group A with a win against Denmark – but there was a sense that their margin of victory could have been greater.
Captain Marie-Charlotte Léger found the net four minutes into the second half after a fine pass by substitute Clara Matéo. Léger was denied later when France were awarded an added-time penalty, and there was a further blow for her team as key forward Delphine Cascarino suffered what looks like a tournament-ending leg injury.
Along with Léger, who scored five of her team's eight elite-round goals, Maelle Garbino and substitutes Anaïs Pugnetti and Matéo also looked dangerous on the attack. Denmark looked to centre-back pairing Maja Kildemoes and Stine Larsen to smother France's persistence.
Amalie Vangsgaard came close to levelling, but shot wide of the target. Denmark coach Søren Randa-Boldt admitted his heart was in his mouth when Kildemoes was adjudged to have handled the ball in the area just before the end, but goalkeeper Naja Bahrenscheer stood firm to block Léger's attempt.
Denmark will need to get off the mark on Saturday when they face a Sweden side fresh from a 3-0 win against France’s next opponents, hosts Israel.
Gilles Eyquem, France coach: "I'm proud of the girls because it was a difficult match against a good team who were very strong athletically, and aggressive with the ball at their feet. We probably lacked a little bit, perhaps we could have been better finishers and scored more goals than we did. But that's inevitable for the first game of a tournament.
It has been a great opening game, in a magnificent stadium, on a magnificent pitch, which is important for the whole experience.
"The upsetting thing was not the missed penalty, it was the injury to our number seven, Delphine Cascarino, because I think it is – unfortunately – the end of her tournament. It's always difficult to lose players so quickly in a tournament, it happens from time to time, but she's a key part of our attack. Now it is important to recover well and stay physically in form to take on Israel."
Søren Randa-Boldt, Denmark coach: "It's disappointing, of course, but France were a fantastic team, and simply better than us.
We couldn't keep possession, so we're not disheartened by the 1-0 scoreline as if you look at the game, it could have been more. We had two chances, really, which if you want a point at least from France, have to be chances you take. My heart was in my mouth when the penalty was awarded because 1-0 you can cope with, 2-0 is different. I think we can improve."