Action at the tournament in Italy began today ©Facebook

Ireland, Britain, the Czech Republic and Poland all made a successful start to the Women's Softball European Championship as each country won two matches in Bollate in Italy today.

The Irish team made a commanding start to their Pool B campaign as they dispatched Lithuania 15-0 before going on to beat Slovakia by a narrow 8-7 margin.

Britain were in good form on the opening day of the tournament, which runs through to July 1, as they thrashed Belgium 10-0 in their first Pool C encounter.

They were made to work harder for their triumph over Russia but still looked comfortable in a 7-2 victory.

The Czech Republic also picked up two wins to ensure they occupied top spot in Pool C.

The European side competed in the first game of the tournament, beating Sweden 5-3, before they cruised to a 10-0 success over a hapless Hungarian side.

Poland are second in the group behind the Czechs after they heaped more misery on Hungary with an 11-3 win.

The Poles also controlled their second encounter today, ousting Israel 14-7.

Croatia endured a mixed beginning to their pursuit of the Women's Softball European Championship crown as a 7-0 defeat by France was followed by an 11-4 victory over Switzerland.

The top two from each pool will then head into two new groups, E and F.

Proceedings will then go to another round robin stage as the top three teams from both pools will play against each other.

The top four countries from this will then head into the medal rounds to determine the podium places.

The competition in Italy will see 23 teams from across the continent taking part over the course of the week.

At the last championships in 2015, Italy defeated The Netherlands to claim the crown, ending a run of three straight title wins for their opponents.

It was the 10th time the Italians had claimed the gold medal at the event