Women’s internationals: Debut for Blundell but England lose out

England Women have to settle for runners-up spot in the SheBelieves Cup but Sweden share victory on the Algarve as a round of international tournaments finished.

For England’s Lionesses, a draw in their final game would have been enough to win the annual four-team invitational SheBelieves Cup but they had the not-inconsiderable task of getting a result against the reigning world champions, current world no.1s and host nation, the United States. The result was a 1-0 defeat with the goal scored in the 58th minute.

Chelsea duo Fran Kirby and Millie Bright started the game in Orlando, Florida and played in a largely even and uneventful first half until just before the interval when England came under pressure.

That continued at the start of the second period and England keeper Karen Bardsley had to save well, before Toni Duggan, set up by Kirby, threatened the USA goal for the first real time.

However England conceded the deciding goal soon after when recently departed Chelsea player Crystal Dunn advanced from left-back and passed to Megan Rapinoe whose cross was deflected. A regrettable mix-up between Bright and Bardsley resulted in the defender touching the ball onto the goalie who turned it into her net for an own-goal.

Agonisingly for England, Birmingham’s Ellen White came within inches of an 87th-minute equaliser when she headed against the post.

Seconds before then there was an important moment for a third Chelsea player when Hannah Blundell came on for her England debut.

Very wet weather in the south of Portugal inflicted an unsatisfactory ending on the Algarve Cup tournament, although our Sweden internationals and their colleagues were declared joint-winners of the competition.

The play-off match with the Netherlands that was due to decide first and second places could not take place due to the conditions.

As well as Hedvig Lindahl, Magda Eriksson and Jonna Andersson are members of the victorious Sweden squad.

The match between South Korea and Norway did kick-off but was abandoned at half-time due to the flooding so both those nations share seventh position. It was poised to be Ji So-Yun’s 100th appearance for South Korea and she started that match but now the collecting of that milestone cap is on hold until her next international.

There was better weather for the conclusion of the Cyprus Cup but defeat for Switzerland in a third/fourth place play-off. Ramona Bachmann and her team-mates went down 2-1 to North Korea. The Cyprus Cup was won by Spain thanks to victory over Italy.