March 7, 2011

Canada and Holland Advance To Cyprus Cup Final

Canada won their third straight match at the Cyprus Cup with a 2-0 victory over England in Group A. For Canada, it was their third shutout, this one by Erin McLeod. It was a battle between the world's 9th and 10th ranked teams.

After most of the first half went by scoreless, Christine Sinclair scored on a rebound of Diana Matheson's shot giving the Canadians a 1-0 edge. Halftime substitution Brittany Timko made it 2-0 just ten minutes into the second half. Most of the second half of the match was played in fairly heavy rainfall.

Hope Powell's squad saw massive changes from Friday's match, with Canada also inserting new blood into the lineup.

For Canada, the victory continues an impressive run of soccer dating back to last September. They are 13 wins, 1 loss, and 2 draws over that time. Canada will face Holland, ranked 15th in the world, in the final on Wednesday.

Scotland 0, Italy 0

Scotland and Italy played to a scoreless draw on Monday. It was enough for Scotland to finish in second place in Group A, just one point ahead of England.

It looked like Scotland might win the game late as they were awarded a penalty with just 10 minutes remaining in the match, but Chiara Marchitelli stopped Kim Little's penalty attempt to preserve the tie. Gemma Fay earned the shutout for the Scots.

Holland 6, Switzerland 0

Holland easily defeated Switzerland 6-0 and will play in the championship match against Canada. They were led by a Kirsten van de Ven hat trick and a Chantel de Ridder brace. The Swiss fell behind 2-0 in the first six minutes and never seriously threatened to make it a match.

Holland will now face Canada, a team they lost to by a 5-0 margin at the Torneia Internacional Cidade de Sao Paulo in December.

France 5, New Zealand 2

Marie-Laure Delie scored three times to lead France to a 5-2 victory over New Zealand. Delie scored twice in the first half to give her team a 3-2 lead at the break, after France had fallen behind in the game's opening minutes on an own goal.

Eugenie Le Sommer and Elise Bussaglia added goals for France, while Anna Green scored directly on a corner kick for the Ferns.

Because of their loss to Holland, France settles for a 3rd place match up against Scotland, while New Zealand will meet Mexico, in what should be an interesting 7th place match of two teams headed for the World Cup in June.

Mexico 3, Northern Ireland 1

Mexico was able to finish the Cyprus Cup group stage unbeaten with a 3-1 win over Northern Ireland. However, the Mexicans still fell short of South Korea, who won Group C.

Maribel Dominguez opened the scoring in the 32nd minute on a penalty after Charlyn Corral had been fouled in the box. Corral scored just minutes later to make it 2-0 by halftime.

Northern Ireland cut the lead to one as Rachel Furness headed one home early in the 2nd half. Nancy Gandarilla scored for Mexico late in the match for the final tally. Gandarilla was making her debut for Mexico.

South Korea 2, Russia 1

Ji So-Yun and Yeo Min-Ji scored to lead South Korea to a 2-1 victory over Russia. Ji's goal came in the opening minutes of the match. South Korea led 1-0 at the half.

Russia briefly tied the score in the 77th minute on a goal by Ekaterina Sochneva, but the Koreans quickly answered with Yeo's goal just a minute later for the game winner.

Final Group Standings:
Group A: Canada 3-0-0, 9 pts; Scotland 1-1-1, 4 pts; England 1-2-0, 3 pts; Italy 0-2-1, 1 pt.
Group B: Holland 3-0-0, 9 pts; France 2-1-0, 6 pts; New Zealand 1-2-0, 3 pts; Switzerland 0-3-0, 0 pts.
Group C: South Korea 2-0-1, 7 pts; Mexico 1-0-2, 5 pts; Russia 1-1-1, 4 pts; Northern Ireland 0-3-0, 0 pts.

Finals Day Matches:
Championship: Canada vs. Holland
3rd/4th Place: Scotland vs. France
5th/6th Place: England vs. South Korea
7th/8th Place: New Zealand vs. Mexico
9th/10th Place: Italy vs. Russia
11th/12th Place: Switzerland vs. Northern Ireland