We round-up all the action from a fascinating day of football in the Algarve Cup.
World Player of the Year Birgit Prinz hit the winner as Germany opened their Algarve Cup campaign with a 2-1 Group A victory over Sweden in what was a repeat of the 2003 Women’s World Cup Final.
Sweden also lost to Germany in the Women’s Euro 2001 Final, but – three months before the Women’s Euro 2005 takes place in England – of more concern for the Swedes than another defeat to the World champions was an injury to star striker Hanna Ljungberg.
She was stretchered off after sustaining a thigh injury that looks certain to rule her out of any further participation in the Algarve Cup, though the Swedish camp report that it should be only a short term problem.
Sara Johansson, who was sent on as substitute for Ljungberg in the 48th minute, levelled the scores following Sandra Smisek’s first goal for Germany, but Prinz wrapped up victory 14 minutes from time.
Germany ended the first day of the tournament as Group A’s joint leaders along with Norway, who beat China 1-0. Lindy Melissa Wilk scored the winner after Han Duan had equalised Trine Ronning’s opener.
Denmark will head into the second round of matches as Group B leaders following an impressive 4-1 win against Finland, who will be England’s opponents in 5 June’s opening match of the Women’s Euro 2005.
Satu Kunnas hit Finland’s equaliser after Louise Hansen had given Norway the lead, but two goals by Anne Dot Eggers Nielsen and one from substitute Stine Kjaer Jensen gave Denmark the points.
In Group B’s other opening day match, a 19th minute goal by striker Christie Welsh was enough to give the USA a 1-0 victory over France.
England’s 4-0 Group C success against Northern Ireland, with two goals by Vicky Exley and one apiece from Karen Carney and Rachel McArthur, was thus the biggest win of the tournament’s first day.
Second in the group are Mexico, who came from behind to beat Portugal 2-1. Tania Pinto put the host nation ahead, but Fatima Leyva brought the Mexicans level then Patricia Perez grabbed the winner 19 minutes from time.