International Round-Up

The last week has seen a large number of international games around the world. Ben Gilby rounds up the action.

A busy pre-Olympic spell of international action began on Thursday 10th June when Japan produced a dominant 8-0 win over Ukraine.

Two goals each from Yuzuho Shiokoshi and new Arsenal signing Mana Iwabuchi (pictured above) set the Games’ host nation on their way. Further strikes from Saori Takarada, Hina Sugita, Mina Tanaka (penalty) and Yuka Momiki completed the rout.

Slovakia earned an impressive 1-0 win over Chile, who are in the same group as Team GB at the Olympics. Patrícia Hmírová’s strike just after the half hour mark was the difference.

Italy were another European nation who achieved a fantastuc result – seeing off a Netherlands side without Vivianne Miedema, 1-0. Cristiana Girelli’s penalty after 14 minutes sealed the victory.

Ben Gilby’s in-depth analysis of Australia’s 3-2 defeat in Denmark can be read by clicking here

Sweden celebrated Caroline Segar’s incredible achievement of making 214 appearances for her country – drawing level with Therese Sjögran at the top of the charts. Five hundred spectators were allowed into the stadium in Kalmar and saw BK Häcken’s in-form striker Stina Blackstenius grabbed the winner with 66 minutes gone.

Scotland returned from Northern Ireland with a narrow 1-0 win over Kenny Shiels’ understrength side. There was a great atmosphere at Seaview with five hundred fans watching Northern Ireland for the first time since their incredible qualification for the European Championships.

Above: Caroline Weir – scorer of Scotland’s winner against Northern Ireland. Photo: Dunfermline Press.

The Scots put the home side under pressure from the off as Claire Emslie put an effort wide at the near-post. She also hit the bar with effort later on in the opening half.

Birmingham City’s youngster Chloe McCarron had a free-kick which landed on the top of the Scottish net.

The deciding moment came with twelve minutes left. Cliftonville’s Toni-Leigh Finnigan made contact with Christie Murray in the box and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Caroline Weir to dispatch the spot kick and Scotland left with the win.

Spain continued their excellent run of form with a straightforward 3-0 win over Belgium in Alcorcón. The Spanish were absolutely dominant, with 74 per-cent of possession and had 11 shots on target compared to just one for the Belgians.

Mariona Caldentey put the Spanish ahead just before the break before Alexia Putellas doubled the advantage from the spot after 50 minutes. Aitana Bonmati completed the scoring with 15 minutes left.

France earned a 1-0 win over Germany in Strasbourg thanks to a strike from Kenza Dali after half an hour.

Friday 11th June saw a further four games. First, in Cartagonova, Brazil swept aside Russia 3-0. Two goals from Bruna Benites Soares either side of half time were added to by Andressa Alves da Silva’s strike nine minutes from the end.

Canada, who will face Team GB in the group stage of the Olympics, played out a 0-0 draw with the Czech Republic.

Finland and Poland were involved in a dramatic clash in Pinatar, Spain. The Finns built a 2-0 lead with two goals in as many minutes. Eveliina Summanen put them ahead with 23 minutes on the clock and Karolina Klabis’ own goal doubled their advantage shortly afterwards. Dominika Grabowska got Poland a lifeline just before the hour mark and Ewa Pajor completed the comeback with less than a quarter of an hour to go.

The Republic of Ireland recovered well after a tough first half in their visit to Iceland. The home side built a 2-0 lead within the opening fifteen minutes through goals from Agla María Albertsdóttir and Alexandra Jóhannsdóttir. Vera Pauw’s side struggled to get their passing going in windy conditions, and Dagný Brynjarsdóttir made it 3-0 before half-time. Goals from Heather Payne and Amber Barrett made things more respectable from an Irish perspective. 

Portugal will take a lot of comfort from their defensive performance against the USA in a match that the World champions only won by a single goal late in the second half. Despite dominating the entire game, the USA’s sole converted effort came from Sam Mewis who headed Christen Press’ corner into the roof of the net. The USA had 26 shots on goal and earned 15 corners but Portugal worked extremely hard to stay in the game throughout.

Above: Jassina Blom – scorer of Belgium’s winner against Luxembourg. Photo: worldfootball.net

In the sole match played on 12th June, a much changed Belgium side, playing their second match in 48 hours, squeaked past minnows Luxembourg 1-0. The Belgians totally dominated the match with 72% of possession, 27 shots on goal compared to just one for Luxembourg and 11 corners. Despite this, they only had Jassina Blom’s ninth minute strike to show for their efforts.

On Sunday 13th June, Japan continued their goal-laden warm up spell for the Olympics with a 5-1 win over Mexico in Toshigi. Mana Iwabushi put the Japanese ahead on 36 minutes and it remained 1-0 until the break. Less than sixty seconds after the re-start, Mina Tanaka doubled Japan’s advantage. Mexico, who put in a fantastic effort throughout which saw them muster 46 per-cent of possession and have seven shots on goal, got back into the game just three minutes later when Alison Gonzalez scored. Sadly for the visitors, Yuka Momiki restored Japan’s two goal advantage four minutes later. Momoka Kinoshita and Jun Endo completed Japan’s tally in the last seventeen minutes.

Tunisia returned from Jordan with a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Hazim Lamti (34) and Ala Hamdi (81).

Latvia had a difficult first half at home to Estonia, conceding four goals in less than half an hour. Lisstte Tammik (16), Berle Brant (28), Kairi Himanen (43) and Mari-Liis Lillemäe (45). Renāte Fedotova got a goal back for the Latvians in the final minute of the game.

Above: Berle Brant – on target for Estonia in Latvia. Photo: Playmaker.

Lithuania gained a 2-0 win over Faroe Islands with Rimantė Jonušaitė (16) and a penalty from Ugnė Lazdauskaitė in the 78th minute sealing the win.

Malta won the battle of the minnows against Montenegro thanks to a strike just after the half hour mark from Jade Flask.

Despite going behind to a ninth minute strike from Croatia’s Izabela Lojna, Slovenia eventually ran out comfortable 4-1 winners. Two goals from in three minutes before half-time from Mateja Zver (41) and Lara Prašnikar (44) put the home side in front. Second half efforts from Zver (58) and Dominika Čonč completed the win.

In the day’s other game, Costa Rica made a fast start against  Guatemala. Raquel Rodriguez gave them the lead after a quarter of an hour with Gloriana Villalobis making it 2-0 on 33 minutes. Gloria Aguilla gave Guatemala some hope just before the break, but Melissa Herrera’s strike after 64 minutes sealed the win for Costa Rica.

On 14th June, the United States swept aside Jamaica 4-0 in Houston. It took just 23 seconds for the World champions to go ahead when Rose Lavelle played in Carli Lloyd in the six yard box. The USA legend took a touch and swept in home past Sydney Schneider, becoming the oldest ever goal scorer for her country at the age of 38 years and 332 days.

It was 2-0 after just seven minutes when Christen Press went down in the area and a penalty was awarded. Up stepped Lindsay Horan to net. Margaret Purce scored only her second international goal just after the 20 minute mark when she shot home at the near post after Press played her in.

It took until stoppage time at the end of the second half for the USA to get a fourth and it came courtesy of Alex Morgan. Sam Mewis chipped a ball towards Morgan around the penalty spot region for the former Spurs player to head home.

Italy gained another victory – this time against Austria, but they had to work very hard to achieve it.

Angelica Soffia put the Italians ahead after just three minutes but Nicole Billa levelled ten minutes later. It remained level until the early stages of the second period when Soffia hit her and Italy’s second (53). Back came Austria though with Carina Wenninger’s equaliser. With a quarter of an hour left, Elena Linari grabbed the winner from the spot.

Russia gained an impressive 1-0 win against Finland thanks to Nadezhda Smirnova’s goal on the hour mark.

Above: Russia’s Nadezhda Smirnova, match winner against Finland. Photo: worldfootball.net

Brazil and Canada played out a 0-0 draw.

15th June was a busy night of action with some quite incredible results.

It is fair to say that no-one predicted the result of Netherlands’ clash with Norway in Enschede. The Scandinavians fielded a regular side, but were, incredibly completely taken apart 7-0 by the Dutch.

Vivianne Miedema put the Netherlands ahead on the quarter of an hour mark and Sherida Spitse made it 2-0 ten minutes later. It was a spell of three goals in seven minutes which totally transformed the outlook.

Jill Roord (51), an Ingrid Moe Wold own goal (53) and another strike from Miedema (57) took the tally to five. Shanice van de Sanden (73) and Danielle Van de Donk (84) completed the rout.

It was a night to forget for the Norwegians who could only muster five shots on target compared to the Netherlands’ 15.

Chile came away from Germany with a superb 0-0 and also managed to earn as many shots on target as their hosts.

Sweden and Australia battled out a 0-0 draw – for Ben Gilby’s match analysis, click here

Costa Rica swept aside Guatemala, going one better in their encounter on 13th June with a 4-1 win. Three goals in 20 minutes decided matters in the first half. Shirley Cruz (15), Stephanie Blanco (32) and Cristin Granados (36) put the hosts in the driving seat. Andrea Alvarez (76) got one back for Guatemala before Diana Saenz completed the scoring with seven minutes left.

Above: Aitana Bonmati (6) and Marta Cardona (18) in celebratory mood after another great win for Spain. Photo: Diego Souto (Getty Images).

Spain continued their excellent run with a 3-0 win over Denmark. Aitana Bonmati put the hosts ahead in Alcorcón in first half stoppage time. Patri Guijarro doubled their advantage mid-way through the second period before Bonmati completed matters four minutes from time. It was a dominant performance from the Spaniards who mustered 19 shots to Denmark’s one.

Wales went down to a 1-0 loss to Scotland at Llanelli when Erin Cuthbert took advantage of Welsh keeper Laura O’Sullivan’s error which gave the Chelsea star an open goal to shoot into after a poor attempted pass to a team mate on the hour mark.

Cuthbert came close earlier when her effort came crashing back off of the crossbar. Her FAWSL team-mate Sophie Ingle, playing in midfield came closest for the Welsh.

The Republic of Ireland went down to their second defeat in four days against European Championship qualifiers Iceland in Reykjavik. This reverse means that Vera Pauw’s side have now lost their last seven games. The Irish were far more solid in defence that in the first encounter, allowing the home side just opportunity in the first half when Berglind Björg Þorvaldsdóttir’s effort was saved by Irish keeper Courtney Brosnan at the near post.

Amber Barrett was one of Ireland’s best players, sending an effort wide of the post. Megan Connolly also let fly with a ferocious shot from 30 yards, which Icelandic keeper Cecilía Rán Rúnarsdóttir pushed round the post.

Ireland would rue these missed opportunities as Þorvaldsdóttir put Iceland ahead. Karólína Lea Vilhjálmsdóttir doubled the Icelandic side’s advantage with ten minutes to go.

Above: Berglind Björg Þorvaldsdóttir’s goal put Iceland ahead against the Republic of Ireland. Photo: @berglindbjorg.

The final game of the international period saw USA take on Nigeria. Once again, the World champions dominated the game with 72 per-cent possession and made more than twice the number of passes than the Nigerians. However, they found it difficult again to convert possession and chances into goals. The USA scored in stoppage time at the end of each half with Christen Press netting just before half time and Lynn Williams at the end of the match.

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