Canada and France narrowly won their matches on the second day of Cyprus Cup action. Both teams prevailed 2-1, Canada over a tough Italy team and France over a resilient Finland.
The Americans got a taste of how strong Italy can be when the two teams faced off in a November 2010 World Cup qualifying playoff, and Canada was reminded of that first-hand on Thursday. Credit to Women’s Soccer United for having a team on-site to report: Robyn Gayle stole a last-minute winner for Canada after Sandy Iannella equalized for Italy to start the half. That negated a Christine Sinclair goal for Canada just before the break.
Meanwhile, Les Bleues got goals from Eugenie Le Sommer and Wendie Renard to prevail 2-1 over a Finland side that seems to hang around in almost every game it plays. Sällström Linda had the goal for Finland.
In a battle of potential Olympic underdogs, New Zealand and South Africa drew 0-0. South Africa is headed to its first-ever Olympics in women’s soccer this summer and New Zealand is the overwhelming favorite to claim Oceania’s Olympic slot, the final remaining question mark in the 12 team field. The Football Ferns nearly upset the U.S. women last month in Dallas (and did manage a draw in the closed door match), but still struggle against teams like South Africa – teams that New Zealand hopes to rise above on the world stage.
England 1-0 Switzerland (Fara Williams, 74′ ENG)
Scotland 2-1 Netherlands (Sherida Spitse 24′ NED, Mandy van den Berg 26′ HOL OWN GOAL, Hayley Lauder 59’ SCO)
South Korea 1-0 Northern Ireland
IN OTHER NEWS:
The U-20 CONCACAF Women’s Championship started in Panama on Thursday with three spots in the U-20 Women’s World Cup on the line. Canada routed Haiti 5-0 with all five goals coming in the second half – and Mexico topped Jamaica 3-1 with all four goals in that game coming in the first half. On Friday, the U.S. takes on Guatemala at 5 p.m. ET and Cuba faces host Panama at 7:30 p.m. ET.
U.S. Soccer has a feature on Lauren Cheney, who is quickly becoming one of the best young, versatile players in the world.
All White Kit has some great updates from the Algarve Cup.
The great Tim Grainey, who has contributed to The Equalizer in the past, is reporting that Lori Chalupny will play for the Chicago Red Stars. Former Saint Louis Athletica fans must be feeling bittersweet at that news. Speaking of Tim, he has a new book coming out in May. I have an advance copy and it’s a delightful read on women’s soccer. I’ll have a review up when I finish it.
In case you missed it yesterday, former U.S. women’s coach (among many titles) Tony DiCicco has been inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame.