Arsenal’s Mead helps England win SheBelieves Cup
PUBLISHED: 07:55 06 March 2019 | UPDATED: 07:55 06 March 2019
PA Archive/PA Images
Arsenal’s Beth Mead was among the goalscorers as England Women won the SheBelieves Cup for the first time in the Untied States.
Mead netted in England’s opening 2-1 win over Brazil, before a 2-2 draw with the world champion hosts, and struck again in a 3-0 victory over Japan in Florida on Tuesday.
Phil Neville’s side secured silverware in style thanks to first-half goals from Lucy Staniforth, Karen Carney and Mead.
However, success came at a cost as Izzy Christiansen limped off injured with the start of the World Cup only three months away.
The Lyon midfielder was reduced to tears while receiving treatment for possible knee and ankle problems suffered during a hefty collision with Japan defender Risa Shimizu.
England needed victory in the winner-takes-all encounter to lift the trophy and controlled the opening stages at the Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.
Staniforth provided the 11th-minute opener, collecting a flicked pass from Jodie Taylor and advancing to the edge of the D before sending a low shot into the bottom right corner for her second international goal.
A long throw from Lucy Bronze then freed Taylor on the right and she hooked the ball back to leave Carney with a simple headed finish from inside the six-yard box.
Japan have been drawn in Group D alongside England for this summer’s World Cup in France and a side ranked eighth in the world fell 3-0 behind on the half-hour mark.
After being released on the right by a superb raking pass from Keira Walsh, Mead cut inside and fired a left-footed effort past goalkeeper Erina Yamane at the near post.
Christiansen’s evening was then cut short, before the hard-working Taylor wasted a chance to get on the scoresheet with a tame finish after breaking clear.
Japan improved after the break, with Rikako Kobayashi, Yuka Momiki and Kumi Yokoyama all having chances, before England’s Chioma Ubogagu headed over from Ellen White’s cross.
Striker White then opted to shoot well over with two team-mates waiting to be played in on goal but it mattered little in the end as England, runners-up in 2018, comfortably saw the game out to win the competition for the first time.
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