Club football took a back seat this week as a host of European aspirants began their build-up towards next month’s UEFA Women’s EURO in Sweden. France impressed with a one-sided victory over Finland to end a lengthy winless run for one of the tournament favourites. The host nation find themselves in a positive frame of mind after their comeback win over Norway, however there was bad news for Iceland who crashed to another defeat, this time against Scotland. Across the Atlantic, USA claimed bragging rights in the latest instalment of their rivalry with neighbours Canada. FIFA.com takes a look at all the action.
Olympic champs trump lively rivals
Two second-half goals from Alex Morgan and an injury time strike from Sydney Leroux gave USA a 3-0 win in a typically feisty meeting with north American rivals Canada. A sold-out crowd of 22,000 was on hand in Toronto and the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ hosts matched their neighbours until midway through the second half in the first meeting between the pair since last year’s epic semi-final at the London Olympics. Reigning FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year striker Abby Wambach celebrated her 33rd birthday by providing two of the assists as U.S. Soccer's Centennial celebration weekend finished in style.
Upbeat Sweden turn tables on Norway
Sweden claimed an important morale-boosting 2-1 win over Scandinavian adversaries Norway ahead of hosting next month’s UEFA Women’s EURO. Sweden, however, were forced to overcome an early deficit in Linkoping as teenage tyro Ada Hegerberg netted for the Gresshoppene, only for Lotta Schelin and Marie Hammarstrom to lead the home side to victory. It was a welcome reversal for Sweden who had been edged out of third place by Norway at the Algarve Cup in March. "It is getting better and better and it looks exciting up front, no matter who plays there," said buoyant Sweden coach Pia Sundhage of her forward line.
Les Bleues back to winning ways
France emphatically ended a curious run of seven straight draws with a confident 3-0 win over Finland in Valenciennes. Marie-Laure Delie scored twice while Gaetane Thiney was also on target to see France cruise past their fellow UEFA Women’s EURO hopefuls. Les Bleues boss Bruno Bini became the first coach to announce his squad for Sweden 2013 which will be led by veteran captain Sandrine Soubeyrand in her fifth continental tournament, with the 23-strong roster featuring a dozen players from champions Lyon.
Iceland slip again
There was more disappointment for another northern European side as Iceland crashed to a 3-2 home defeat against Scotland in Reykjavik. It was a further setback for Sigurdur Eyjolfsson's charges who have suffered several defeats over recent months in the build-up to next month’s European showdown. Scotland, who failed by the narrowest of margins to reach Sweden 2013, were 3-1 up inside 33 minutes with Emily Thomson’s debut international goal proving to be the eventual winner.
photos Janos Schmidt