Road to the World Cup: Millie Bright helps England win; Ji So-Yun on target

The final Women’s World Cup warm-up friendlies for April took place on Tuesday with Chelsea players representing their countries.

England hosted Spain at Swindon Town, with Millie Bright returning to her centre-half position and this time Karen Carney took her turn on the bench.

The Lionesses had a shaky start but responded well to Friday’s defeat by Canada. Arsenal’s Beth Mead slid the ball into the net for the opener 36 minutes into the match.

England started on the front foot after the break and went two up almost immediately. Man City’s Jill Scott released Birmingham’s Ellen White on the angle to enable her to confidently steer the ball into the top right corner. Spain pulled one back with a clever move which caught out a static Lionesses defence, but the Blues defender and her side then held firm to win 2-1.

South Korea welcomed Iceland for the second time in a space of three days in what was just their second women’s international on home territory since late 2015. Once again, the South Korean fans turned out in vast numbers to support their national team in the north of the country at the Chuncheon Songam Stadium.

Ji So-Yun was a part of the South Korean side and played in an attacking midfield position behind a lone striker. Iceland went ahead after 22 minutes but their lead did not last long and it was Ji who made sure of that by levelling just five minutes later. She combined nicely with two of her team-mates when they worked their way up the pitch, then buried her clinical finish. The fixture ended in a draw.

Adelina Engman played her part in Finland’s 1-0 victory over Poland and Ramona Bachmann was also on a winning side as Switzerland came out on top against Slovakia. Bachmann was presented with a terrific opportunity on the stroke of half-time, but she narrowly missed the target. The Swiss came out after the break with high intensity and got their reward when Geraldine Reuteler produced a magnificent strike.

Magdalena Eriksson, Jonna Andersson and Hedvig Lindahl’s Swedish side came away from their match in Austria with a 2-0 win thanks to second-half goals. Chances were coming thick and fast at either end but neither of the sides could find an opening. It took a fine goal from former Chelsea striker Sofia Jakobsson to beat the Austrian keeper before the Swedes doubled their lead.

Lindahl was in between the sticks and Andersson in defence at the start, however Eriksson did not feature in tonight’s clash until the 80th minute where she replaced her Chelsea team-mate in the back line.

Maren Mjelde and Maria Thorisdottir went head-to-head with team-mate Ali Riley when Norway took on New Zealand in sunny Marbella, Spain. Riley’s New Zealand side defeated Norway for the first time in almost 40 years with a determined and composed display. For the Ferns, it was a significant win as it was the first time they had beaten a higher ranked opposition in four years.

The Kiwis took the lead in the third minute and were forced to work hard in defence to keep out the former Women’s World Cup champions and it needed a super one-handed save by their goalie Erin Nayler to keep a clean sheet.

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