Spain completed a Cinderella week in Portugal by knocking off Canada 1-0 to win the Algarve Cup in their first trip to the event. Leila Ouahabi’s 5th minute goal stood up under intense, late pressure from the Canadians whose bid to repeat as champions came up short. Canada continued their youth movement though with John Herdman unveiling 15-year old Jordyn Huitema, who started the match on her debut for the Maple Leaf. For Spain the Algarve trophy represents a successful start to Jorge Vilda’s coaching tenure. He took over after the players forced Ignacio Quereda out following the World Cup after 28 years in charge.
In other Algarve placement matches…
3RD PLACE: Denmark 1, Australia 1 (4-1 on penalties): Pernille Harder’s 80th minute goal cancelled out Kyah Simon’s go-ahead tally on 36 minutes, and Denmark converted all four penalties to secure third place from favored Australia. Sam Kerr, on the occasion of her 50th cap, had her PK saved, as did Clare Polkinghorne.
5TH PLACE: Netherlands 3, Japan 2: A Rumi Ustugi own goal in stoppage time gave the Netherlands a wild victory and 5th place as they prepare to host the Euros this summer. Anouk Dekker and Lieke Martens put the Netherlands up 2-0 after just 19 minutes. Japan quickly countered with Kumi Yokoyama splitting the lead in half just a minute later. Japan then pulled level at 77 minutes on Sheila Van den Bulk’s own goal before Utsugi returned the favor.
7TH PLACE: Sweden 4, Russia 0: Kosovare Aslanni and Nilla Fischer gave Sweden a 2-0 lead inside 10 minutes, and they were off and running to salvage what was a disappointing week even after it opened with a win over Australia. Asllani added her second before the half, and Fridolina Rolfo added the cherry on top in the 2nd.
9TH PLACE: Iceland 2, China 1: Erna Sigurordottir scored early in both halves to carry the day for Iceland. Wang Shuang brought China level near the end of the 1st half, but they conceded less than two full minutes into the 2nd.
11TH PLACE: Norway 2, Portugal 0: A dreadful tournament for Norway ended on a high note with a win over the hosts. Ingvild Isaksen and Guro Reiten provided the scoring.
Switzerland takes Cyprus Cup
— Jasmina Schweimler (@JasSchweimler) March 8, 2017
Switzerland, never better than 4th at any prior Algarve or Cyprus Cup, completed an undefeated run through Cyprus by edging South Korea 1-0. Lara Dickenmann’s 58th minute goal stood up to hand the Swiss their first trophy. The week was full of drama as Selina Kuster scored late to earn a draw with Belgium in the opening match, and then Rahel Kiwic scored late to beat North Korea 1-0 in the second match. The goal was the first conceded by South Korea, who won two group matches and drew Austria, 0-0.
Elsewhere at the Cyprus Cup…
3RD PLACE: North Korea 2, Ireland 0: Wi Jong Sim and Kim Ryu Song provided the goals to put both Koreas on the podium. Ireland’s 4th place finish in Colin Bell’s coaching debut was their highest ever finish in four trips to the event.
5TH PLACE: Scotland 0, Wales 0 (6-5 on penalties): No goals through 90 minutes, but the UK rivals filled it up in penalties where they required extra rounds before Kim Little’s Scotland got the better of Jess Fishlock’s Wales. Little, though, did not feature in the match and was not on the bench for the Scots.
7TH PLACE: Belgium 1, Austria 1 (3-1 on penalties): The teams traded 2nd-half goals before Belgium prevailed on penalties. Tessa Wullaert put Belgium ahead in the 63rd minute, and Verena Aschauer pulled Austria level in the 78th. The 7th place match was an ominous place for teams who drew the respective finalists in group play.
9TH PLACE: New Zealand 3, Hungary 1: Following a disastrous group stage, the Football Ferns left in 9th place after a decisive win over Hungary. Rosie White scored twice to give her three goals for the tournament and some good form to take with her to the Breakers for NWSL preseason next week. Jasmine Pereira also scored for New Zealand.
11TH PLACE: Italy 6, Czech Republic 2: Cristian Gereli’s two quick goals late in the first half turned the tide of the match after Jitka Chlastakova put the Czechs ahead in the 9th minute. Alice Parisi scored moments before the half time whistle, and the Italians were off the running. Barbara Bonasea, Melania Gabbiadini and Maniela Giugliano added to the scoresheet after the break. Katerina Svitkova hit a 2nd half penalty for the Czech Repblic.