Women’s Internationals: Kirby on target

Chelsea Ladies players have been in action at the start of several international tournaments this week.

England Women are off to a great start in the annual four-team tournament in the United States, the SheBelieves Cup. They ran out 4-1 winners over France in Columbus, Ohio, with Fran Kirby scoring their fourth goal with a first-time finish soon after half-time.

For his first game as the Lionesses’ manager, Phil Neville selected an all-Chelsea central defence of Millie Bright and Anita Asante although sadly it was a short-lived partnership. Asante, on her return to the international stage after three years away, was forced off with an injury inside 15 minutes.

By then England were already 1-0 up and Kirby had played a part, feeding Barcelona’s Toni Duggan to score on six minutes.

Kirby later played in Jodie Taylor who hit the bar but the former Arsenal striker did score before half-time to make 3-0, after Man City’s Jill Scott had added the second.

France scored their consolation late on, by which time Kirby had been substituted. Carly Telford was brought on for the closing minute with Hannah Blundell remaining on the bench.

England now play Germany on Sunday before taking on the host nation three days later.

At the Algarve Cup, Ji So-Yun was part of the South Korea side which beat Russia 3-1 in their opening game of that tournament in Portugal, and Hedvig Lindahl, Jonna Andersson and Magda Ericsson were also on the winning side as Sweden beat Canada 3-1.

There was defeat however for Maria Thorrisdottir and Norway, 4-3 against Australia, with the winner coming five minutes into stoppage time. Maren Mjelde remained on the Norway bench.

In another tournament, the Cyprus Cup, Ramona Bachmann and Switzerland were defeated heavily by Italy, going down 3-0.