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Football - 11. March 2014.

England, France resume rivalry for gold

A dramatic 89th-minute goal against the Netherlands sent France into the Cyprus Cup final, where they will resume a rivalry with England that has seen the two face off in several key clashes over the course of a decade.

England, under the tutelage of new manager Mark Sampson, breezed into the decider with three wins, seven goals scored and none conceded after seeing off Italy, Finland and next year's FIFA Women's World Cup™ hosts Canada in their group.

Their most recent victory saw recently-recalled forward Lianne Sanderson grab a brace - her first international goals for almost four years. Sanderson also played a part in the qualifiers for the Women's World Cup in 2007, and it was in that campaign that the rivalry between Les Bleues and the Three Lionesses intensified. England qualified for China 2007 after a tense final qualifying group game in front of a baying French crowd in Rennes saw them emerge with a 1-1 draw - enough to top the group.

It is France, though, who have emerged victorious in the other memorable clashes this century. They saw off England in the qualifying play-off for the Women's World Cup 2003, winning both legs 1-0. The French also won the most recent high-profile clash, a dramatic penalty shootout victory in the quarter-finals of the Women's World Cup 2011, as Faye White and Claire Rafferty's misses sent Les Bleues into the semi-finals.

As Cyprus Cup holders, England will be looking to avenge that 2011 defeat against the French in Wednesday's final. Philippe Bergeroo's side have also grabbed seven goals in the tournament so far and they will be looking to be the first side to breach Sampson's side's defence. England have not beaten France since 1974 at this level. Could Wednesday be the day they break the hoodoo?

"We'll aim to build on our performances in the group stage and look to win the match," Sampson told the BBC. "France showed how wonderfully technically gifted they are and it's going to be a very big test for us."

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