England women beat Canada 1-0 to triumph in Cyprus Cup final

 

Rachel Yankey's stunning strike earned England a 1-0 victory over Canada in the final of the Cyprus Cup.

The Arsenal winger scored in the 70th minute as coach Hope Powell's side beat the team they also defeated in the 2009 final.

"It was a really good performance," said Powell. "The girls implemented the tactics and stuck to the game plan.

"Against a strong, physical team, who were bronze medallists at the Olympics, we were the better side."

England's Cyprus Cup Results

13 March 2013 England 1-0 Canada

11 March 2013 England 3-1 New Zealand

8 March 2013 England 4-4 Scotland

6 March 2013 England 4-2 Italy

Team GB, which was mainly made up for England players, lost to Canada in the 2012 Olympic Games quarter-final.

This win offered a sense of revenge and hope for the future.

"We created a lot of chances before we scored, but we won the game with a great goal and I'm pleased at the way we went on creating," added Powell.

After beating the Canadians in the final four years ago, England went on to finish runners-up at that year's Women's European Championship.

With Euro 2013, which takes place in Sweden, only four months away, Powell admits Wednesday's win is very timely.

"Winning the tournament, and the way we won it, will be a big confidence boost for the Euros," she said.

Right winger Ellen White and striker Eni Aluko both went close as England made a bright start, but Aluko then wasted two excellent openings midway through the first half.

The Chelsea player dragged a 12-yard shot wide and then ballooned a volley high over the bar from a great position.

Either side of half-time, England continued to press and deservedly went ahead when Yankey hit a superb volley into the net from substitute Jess Clarke's cross.

Powell's team went close again through substitute Rachel Williams, and Clarke missed a good stoppage time chance to wrap up victory.

Canada produced only a couple of threats in the closing stages and England ran out richly deserving winners.