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Germany and Sweden draw a blank
 Women's Football Euros News - 18 Jul 2017
Germany began their defence of the trophy in the Euro 2017 with a goalless draw against Sweden in Breda.
The eagerly anticipated clash between two of the major contenders saw a typically determined Swedish side keep their opponents at bay to end their unhappy record of eleven straight defeats to Germany in competitive matches.
Sweden started the match on the front foot and created the first opportunity when Linda Sembrant rose unmarked from a corner but could not direct her header on target. Svenja Huth brought out a diving save from Hedvig Lindahl at the other end but these were rare first half chances despite the game being played at a high tempo.
Germany began to increase the pressure in the second half with Dzsenifer Marozsan seeing a free kick saved by Lindahl and Mandy Islacker was unlucky to see an instinctive first time shot go inches wide, after latching onto a low cross by Carolin Simon.
Sweden responded though with the clearest chance of the match so far. A breakaway resulted in Stina Blackstenius shrugging off the attentions of Josephine Henning as she burst into the area where her shot was blocked by the outstretched boot of Almuth Schult.
Schult also needed to save an angled shot from Lotta Schelin but Germany were next to go close as the excellent Marozsan drove in a cross from deep for Islacker who poked her shot goalwards but Lindahl came to the rescue with a great reflex save.
Lindahl also made saves from Leonie Maier and Lina Magull but Sweden stood firm for a hard earned point which will put both teams in a good position to reach the quarter finals.
Group B is currently topped by Russia after two early goals gave them a 2-1 win over Italy in Rotterdam but they needed to survive a late onslaught in which goalkeeper Tatyana Shcherbak excelled.
Russia took the lead after nine minutes when Ekaterina Sochnova fed Elena Danilova on the edge of the area, where she turned and fired a low shot past Chiara Marchitelli to open the scoring.
The early blow clearly jolted the Italians and Russia continued to push for a second, bringing reward for their efforts just after the midway point. Sochnova was again the supplier, this time with a corner to the far post for Elena Morozova to power home an unstoppable header.
Back came Italy with a well struck shot by Marta Carissimi being palmed away by Shcherbak but Russia were not troubled any further and took their two-goal lead into the interval.
Italy were forced to throw players forward after the break with Russia content to sit back and hit on the counter attack. They nearly made a breakthrough though as Melania Gabbiadini latched onto a ball into the area but her shot was superbly turned over the bar by Shcherbak.
Still Italy pressed but could not break down the Russian defence who kept out a number of corners as they strove to hold on to their advantage.
Ekaterina Pantyukhina hit the side netting on an increasingly rare Russian counter attack but with two minutes left, Italy grabbed themselves a lifeline as a free kick from deep by Cristiana Girelli was touched past the oncoming Shcherbak by Ilaria Mauro.
Suddenly, nerves overcame the Russian side who were pounded by Italy in search of an equaliser. Elisa Bartoli did get the ball in the net but her effort was ruled out by an offside flag and then, after the game went into injury time, a free kick was headed goalwards by Bartoli, only for Shcherbak to pull off a fantastic save, touching the ball onto the bar and Elvira Ziyastinova was on hand to clear off the line under pressure from Gabbiadini.
Italy had thrown everything at them but Russia held out to record their first ever victory in the Finals, after twelve previous winless occasions.

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