England enjoyed their third four-goal haul on the bounce beating Portugal in convincing style.
Portugal 0-4 England
The Algarve Cup
4.15pm, Friday 09 March 2005
Birmingham City winger Rachel Yankey bagged a brace as England made it 12 goals in three games with a resounding group win against the Algarve Cup’s host nation.
Two days after beating Northern Ireland 4-0, a stronger England line-up - showing eight changes from the opening match - ran up another goal-laden victory to keep themselves at the top of Group C.
Charlton Athletic defender Casey Stoney and Birmingham striker Amanda Barr were the other scorers against a side described before the match by National Coach Hope Powell as: "a bit of a bogey team for us."
If that was the case then the hoodoo was well and truly broken as England controlled the game throughout and were well worth their margin of victory.
"That was a better performance than Wednesday’s," said Powell, "especially in the second half when we got a lot of dangerous balls into the penalty area.
"We scored some good goals and that was encouraging too. We’re on a bit of a roll and when you do that the players get more confidence in themselves and in eachother.
"But there’s still lots of work to do and, with the Women’s Euro 2005 less than three months away now, we have to build on these recent performances."
England’s latest four-goal show started with Stoney’s 10th minute opener, the defender drilling in a 10 yard half-volley from Barr’s cross.
It was another Barr delivery that Yankey scored her first goal on the half-hour, the winger scuffing her shot but nevertheless beating goalkeeper Carla Cristina.
Portugal went close from half-chances on a couple of occasions just before the interval, but England regained control straight after the break and were even more dominant in the second half.
The third goal arrived in the 77th minute, Barr sliding the ball home from a cross by Karen Carney shortly after the Birmingham striker had entered the action as substitute for Everton’s Jody Handley.
Portugal substitute Kikas wasted the home side’s best opportunity in the 90th minute, lobbing the ball over stranded goalkeeper Jo Fletcher but also wide of the near post.
Yankey wrapped up victory with the best goal of the game three minutes into stoppage time. In an all-Birmingham affair, Carney freed Barr for a low cross which Yankey turned into the net with a diving header.
England are now set for a group-deciding meeting with Mexico, who have also won their first two games but have an inferior goal difference to Powell’s team.
The National Coach, who on Wednesday watched Mexico beat Portugal 2-1, said: "The Mexicans didn’t have their strongest team out against Portugal, but they were a zippy side who will give us a good test.
"They’ve had good results against one or two top teams in the last 12 months, so although we’ve had good results ourselves of late we certainly can’t be complacent against them."
Portugal v England: Team Details
Portugal (4-3-3) C. Cristrina; Borges, Lourido, Reliquas (Costa 87), Martins (Dani 87); Pinto (Kikas 57), Brunheira, Portugal (P. Cristina 57); Edite, Couto, Carneiro.
England (4-3-3): Fletcher (Birmingham City); Alex Scott (Birmingham City), Stoney (Charlton Athletic), Phillip (Arsenal), Unitt (Everton); Westwood (Wolves), Williams (Everton), Chapman (Charlton Athletic); Handley (Everton) (sub Karen Carney (Birmingham City) 71), Barr (Birmingham City), Yankey (Birmingham City).