England and Canada both recorded victories in Group A of the Cyprus Cup yesterday over Italy and Scotland respectively as Kelly Smith capped off her 100th international appearance with a goal.
By David Brenchley
ENGLAND 2-0 ITALY
Arsenal striker Ellen White got the scoring underway for England before Smith banished her penalty demons, after missing her last one against Switzerland in September, to step up and make sure of the victory.
Smith was made captain for the game but admitted that the century was the last thing on her mind, saying: "I'm delighted to reach a hundred caps and I'm proud of the achievement.
"I didn't think about it too much before the game to be honest. A lot of the girls were saying ‘congratulations' to me, so they were probably thinking about it more than I was.
"I had no nerves about winning my 100th cap but I was a bit nervous about taking the penalty after my last one.
"I'd seen Frank [Lampard]'s penalty against Man United on Monday night, though, and I decided to lace the ball down the middle just like he did - so thanks Frank!"
England head coach Hope Powell was pleased with her side's comfortable victory, adding: "It took us time to find our groove but we got better after the first half-hour and dominated in periods.
"It was a good contest, fairly even overall and quite physical, and I was pleased to come out of it with two goals, a clean sheet and three points in the bag."
CANADA 1-0 SCOTLAND
Canada's victory over Scotland was secured by an Emily Zurrer header and their Italian coach, Carolina Morace who will stand down after the forthcoming World Cup in Germany, admitted her side were not at their best.
"Actually we didn't play very well but at this time we do not have the best physical condition, because we are preparing for the World Cup. But we won, so three points is important," she said.
Her side will come up against Italy in the next group match and will be hoping to maintain their winning record against her home country.
"I think we will meet a very angry team," Morace added. "Of course they have to win (to advance). But at the same time we want to continue to play our game, to improve our performance.
"So I think it will be a very good match. And of course for me, as Italian, it's a special match. But for us, the most important thing for us is the (World Cup) competition in June, July."
Meanwhile Scotland, who are ranked 24th in the world, were pleased with their first half performance against a much stronger side, with coach Anna Signeul saying: "We can take a lot of positives from that performance against one of the best sides in the world.
"Canada had their strongest starting 11 out there today. They have been together for two months preparing for the World Cup - and they would expect to get to the latter stages - but we had them under control for most of the match."
FRANK UIJLENBROEK WORLDSPORTPICS