England win Cyprus Cup opener as Scotland draw
Goals from Karen Carney and Toni Duggan gave England a 2-0 win against Italy in their opening Cyprus Cup Group A game.
Birmingham midfielder Carney struck a penalty in first-half stoppage time.
Manchester City striker Duggan, who has apologised for painting her face black at a fancy dress party, doubled the lead after half-time to give new boss Mark Sampson his first victory.
Mark Sampson England women's coach
“I was pleased with the players' intent to implement the game plan ”
In Group B, Scotland drew 1-1 with France after taking the lead through Glasgow City captain Leanne Ross.
The French equaliser was an own goal by ex-Arsenal defender Jennifer Beattie, who now plays for French club Montpellier.
England's win in the 12-team invitational event was a conclusive success for head coach Sampson in his second game since replacing Hope Powell, who was sacked after a disappointing Euro 2013 performance.
Sampson, whose debut game in January ended in a 1-1 draw with Norway, said: "I'm very happy with the performance and result.
"I was pleased with the players' intent to implement the game plan and we did that practically throughout the 90 minutes after making an excellent start.
"If it hadn't been for some outstanding work by the Italian goalkeeper we could have been well ahead before Karen's penalty.
"And I was really pleased for Toni when she scored - she had a tremendous game creatively and it was a really good goal."
England started the game at a high tempo and laid siege to the Italian goal. Striker Lianne Sanderson, captain Fara Williams and central defender Steph Houghton all had goalbound efforts brilliantly saved by Italy keeper Laura Giuliani.
Cyprus Cup schedule
Wednesday, 5 March
- England 2-0 Italy
- Scotland 1-1 France
Friday, 7 March
- England v Finland, 12:30 GMT
- Scotland v Netherlands, 12:30
Monday, 10 March
- England v Canada, 12:30
- Scotland v Australia, 15:30
Wednesday, 12 March
- Finals day (all teams will play to earn final placing)
Sampson's team then capped a one-sided first half with Carney's spot-kick after Duggan had been fouled by midfielder Giulia Domenichetti.
Italy threatened for the first time eight minutes after the break, winger Elisa Camporese's shot forcing Chamberlain into a finger-tip save.
But, after Sanderson hit the post, Duggan raced through the Italian defence to score with a 15-yard shot past the advancing Giuliani.
England were never in danger of surrendering the lead and might have increased it in stoppage time, but substitute Eni Aluko shot straight at Giuliani.
Like England, Scotland made a fine start to their game and took the lead after just eight minutes. Ross met a Hayley Lauder cross at the back post to force home a low six-yard shot.
The Scots then gave as good as they got against a France team that last year trounced England 3-0 at the European Championship finals.
A famous victory was in sight for Anna Signeul's team until disaster struck 15 minutes from time.
A goalmouth scramble ended with a shot ricocheting off Beattie to land in the net.
Head coach Signeul said: "The goal we conceded was unfortunate, but we gave an excellent performance and I'm really proud of the girls.
"France put out their strongest team, but we matched them and we thoroughly deserved the draw."
The Republic of Ireland drew 1-1 with New Zealand. Aine O'Gorman gave the Republic the lead but Hannah Wilkinson scored a late equaliser.
On Friday, Scotland play their second group game against the Netherlands, who drew their opener 2-2 with Australia.
England's Friday opponents will be Finland, who went down 3-0 to Canada in their first game.