Germany and France began a year they hope will take them to the FIFA Women's World Cup in good shape with triumphs in the two traditional spring friendly tournaments. UEFA.com rounds up this week's Algarve and Cyprus Women's Cup action, with World Cup qualifying resuming on 4 April.
Germany have five wins and 40 unanswered goals in World Cup qualifying Group 1 and that form continued in Portugal. They topped Group A by beating Iceland 5-0, China 1-0 and Norway 3-1, and just as in the 2012 final overcame Japan for the title, Nadine Kessler, Anja Mittag and Dzenifer Marozsán striking early in the second half for a 3-0 triumph.
Iceland bounced back superbly from their opening loss, late goals seeing off Norway 2-1 and China 1-0, before Harpa Thorsteinsdóttir scored twice as they beat Sweden 2-1 for third place. Sweden had only missed out on the final when a last-minute penalty gave Japan a 2-1 victory and Group B top slot. But before that they had defeated Denmark 2-0 and the United States 1-0, the first time the Americans had lost since Pia Sundhage left to coach her native Sweden at the end of 2012.
Three days later the US lost again, Denmark making history by becoming the first team ever to put five past them in a 5-3 success, the highlight in a campaign that started with losses to Sweden and Japan and ended in a penalty shoot-out reverse against China for fifth position.
Norway, UEFA Women's EURO 2013 runners-up behind Germany, had an unhappy time; as well as their defeat by the eventual winners, they were beaten by China, Iceland and then Russia 1-0 in the ninth-place play-off. Russia had previously fallen 2-1 to North Korea, overcome Portugal 3-1 and gone down 3-2 to Austria, who were to avenge an opening 3-2 defeat by the hosts, playing their first games under new coach Francisco Neto, with a 2-1 triumph for 11th spot.
Cyprus Women's Cup
Less than a year after knocking them out of UEFA Women's EURO 2013, France took England's title with a 2-0 final victory courtesy of early Gaëtane Thiney and Camille Abily goals. Les Bleues had only just scraped into the decider from Group B; held 1-1 by Scotland in the opener, they beat Australia 3-2 and then the Netherlands 3-0, Wendie Renard adding the third deep in added time to secure top spot on goal difference.
Until then Scotland were in the group lead, Lisa Evans's hat-trick ensuring a 4-3 win against the Netherlands and Jane Ross's treble downing Australia 4-2, a success that seemed to have set up a final against England until Renard's simultaneous late strike. Scotland then were denied bronze on penalties by South Korea, who themselves had topped the Republic of Ireland in Group C on goal difference.
England's new manager Mark Sampson oversaw an excellent Group A showing; Italy were defeated 2-0 and Finland seen off 3-0 before Lianne Sanderson claimed her first England goal since 2010 in a 2-0 win against World Cup hosts Canada, who had previously beaten both the other European sides in the section and later overcame Ireland 2-1 for fifth. Patrizia Panico managed her 100th Italy goal to clinch a 1-1 draw with Finland but they then succumbed 5-2 to Australia for seventh place.
The Netherlands, who let a two-goal lead slip to draw 2-2 with Australia in their opener, ended ninth as they thrashed Switzerland 4-1. The Swiss, above Denmark and Iceland in their World Cup group, had earlier drawn 1-1 with South Korea, beaten New Zealand 2-1 and lost 2-1 to Ireland following Stephanie Roche's 90th-minute winner. Finland's unhappy campaign finished with a 1-0 loss to New Zealand.
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