Cyprus Cup gains
Wednesday, 07 March, 2012
Hope Powell on the benefits of the annual 12-team tournament.
Hope Powell lauded the benefits of playing in the Cyprus Cup, despite her side’s play-off defeat to Italy yesterday.
Jade Moore put England ahead in the 25th minute with her first senior team goal, but the Italians responded with three goals after the break to clinch third place in this annual friendly tournament which has been a part of the Three Lionesses’ calendar for the last four years.
“I love this tournament,” said the National Coach, in summary. “It gives me a good opportunity to have a look at all of the players.
“It’s good for them to experience the tournament environment, under a little bit of pressure. It also gives me a chance to experiment and try a few new things, so all in all it was a really valuable exercise, as it always is and we’ll grow as a result.”
England opened their Cyprus Cup campaign with a comfortable 3-1 win over Finland last Tuesday before a narrow 1-0 win over a tough Switzerland side two days later, a game in which midfielder Fara Williams celebrated her 100th cap by scoring the winning goal.
They lost their final group game to eventual tournament victors France and were required to compete for third place with Italy.
“It was a good contest,” said Powell of yesterday’s play-off. “A good opportunity to look at some other players to give them more experience.
“We did play quite well and it was a pretty even game. I’m not sure Italy would agree, but to be fair to them they were very clinical in front of goal.”
Powell also reserved a few words of praise for Williams and Casey Stoney, who also made her 100th international appearance in the Cyprus Cup, against the French.
“Both of them have been leaders for us over the years,” she said. “They lead by example and it’s a great achievement for them both. They have been great servants to the women’s game and hopefully it can continue.”