England beat Canada 3-1 to claim the Cyprus Cup.
England 3-1 Canada
International Friendly Tournament
Thursday 12 March 2009
England recovered from an early scare to score three goals and defeat Canada in the Final of the Cyprus Cup.
With the European Championship beginning in August, this result will instil a confidence in the Three Lions that they can achieve victory in a tournament environment and an unbeaten Cyprus Cup campaign will further boost their hopes of major success in Finland.
Despite dominating the early possession Hope Powell's side fell behind on 14 minutes, when a defensive mix-up allowed Christine Sinclair to take full advantage and give the Canadians a surprise lead, prodding the ball over Rachel Brown.
This goal lifted Canada and they began to enjoy a period of sustained pressure. England, slightly shell-shocked at going behind, took a while to get back into the game, but they soon found their feet again.
They began to see more of the ball and soon forced Canada to chase the game. They were rewarded for their efforts just after the half-hour mark when Lianne Sanderson headed home a Casey Stoney cross after a fine passing move.
England then upped the tempo and doubled their lead just eight minutes later.
Another slick passage of play concluded with Kelly Smith sending home a 20-yard drive to give England a deserved advantage.
A thunderous free-kick from skipper Fara Williams effectively sealed the win and gave England a two-goal cushion their first-half play warranted.
Though they continued to press after the interval, their path to goal was blocked by the impressive Karina LeBlanc in the Canada goal. Williams and Smith both had numerous long-range efforts to double their own tallies, but each one was repelled by LeBlanc, who then went on to deny Katie Chapman twice.
Canada failed to find a way back into the Final and the Cyprus Cup had long seemed destined to end up in English arms at the final whistle.
1 Rachel Brown, 2 Alex Scott, 3 Casey Stoney, 4 Fara Williams (C), 5 Anita Asante, 6 Steph Houghton, 7 Karen Carney, 8 Jill Scott, 9 Lianne Sanderson (16 Eniola Aluko, 71), 10 Kelly Smith, 11 Sue Smith
Sanderson 32, K Smith 40, Williams 45+1
1 Karina LeBlanc, 17 Brittany Timko, 2 Emily Zurrer,10 Martina Franko (23 Sasha Andrews, 46), 3 Melanie Booth, 19 Kelly Parker, 6 Kaylyn Kyle, 8 Diana Matheson, 5 Chelsea Stewart (16 Marie Eve Nault, 46), 12 Christine Sinclair, 14 Melissa Tancredi