Winning start for Home Nations at Cyprus Cup

Winning start for Home Nations at Cyprus Cup

Scotland, Wales and Republic of Ireland all made winning starts to the 2017 Cyprus Cup.

Tim Oliver

The 2017 edition of the Cyprus Cup began with a good set of results for the home nations, which they'll be hoping to continue over the coming days.

Group A

North Korea, who are the highest ranked team at the tournament this year, began their campaign with a highly impressive 3-0 victory over Italy.

In the other game in Group A, Belgium and Switzerland played out an entertaining draw. Captain Caroline Abbe put the Swiss in front in the 26th minute, but the lead only lasted five minutes until Genk's Lien Mermans equalised for Belgium. 

Janice Cayman looked like she had won the game for the Red Devils in the 78th minute, but the Swiss rescued a point with Selina Kuster's late equaliser.

Group B

Scotland picked up an impressive win against New Zealand, with once again their second-half substitutes making a huge impact. 

The Scots were missing five key players, and it appears that Rachel Corsie will miss the rest of the Cyprus Cup, but Anna Signeul has spoken before that she saw the tournament as a chance to give players to fight for a place in the team. 

It was Scotland who took the lead, and Christie Murray who is one of the players who will be looking to impress played a key part. Her shot hit the crossbar, and Manchester City's Jane Ross reacted quickest to score her 48th goal in her Scotland career.

Ten minutes later, New Zealand equalised when keeper Shannon Lynn's pass was intercepted by Rosie White who made no mistake on the one-on-one.

Late in the second half, Scotland took the lead through substitute Erin Cuthbert's thunderbolt before the stand-in captain Kim Little score her 48th goal for Scotland, scoring from close range after being picked out by Fiona Brown.

Amber Hearn pulled a goal back for New Zealand in the 90th minute, but Scotland held out for the win.

In the other game in Group B, South Korea and Austria played out a goalless draw.

Group C

Group C contains both the Republic of Ireland and Wales, and both countries began with 2-0 wins.

Ireland, who made the recent appointment of Colin Bell as their new Head Coach, and they began strongly and deservedly took the lead against the Czech Republic in the 24th minute. A corner found its way to Stephanie Roche and she blasted the ball into the back of the net. 

Whilst the Czech Republic started to come into the game more, but the Irish defence resisted everything they threw at her. Late in the second half, Ireland doubled their lead when Celtic's Ruesha Littlejohn through-ball found Aine O'Gorman whose accurate finish found the back of the net. The result gave Bell a winning start. As well as Bell making his debut in the dugout, Reading's defender Harriet Scott started the game to make her international debut.

Wales gained revenge for a 2016 Cyprus Cup defeat to Hungary, beating them 2-0 on St David's Day. The Welsh took the lead through their all-time top goal scorer Helen Ward who reacted quickest to the rebound after Kayleigh Green had seen her shot saved.

It was Green who provided Wales' second goal in the 66th minute with her cross picking out Charlie Estcourt and her firm shot found the back of the net.