Thursday 09 March 2017, 08:31

European trio celebrate international success

There has been plenty of international women's football to enjoy over the last few days, including a number of teams making history.

Three international tournaments took place in early March: first the SheBelieves Cup, in which four of the top five teams in the world took part and from which France emerged triumphant. Then, on Wednesday, the prestigious Algarve Cup and Cyprus Cup both came to an end, with teams from Europe also successful. runs the rule over the recent world-class action.

France triumph in the USA A star-studded cast took part in the SheBelieves* *Cup, held for the second time in the United States. FIFA Women's World Cup-winners USA, Women's Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016 gold medallists Germany, France and England were the participants, and the tournament was the perfect opportunity for the European sides to prepare for this summer's UEFA Women's EURO 2017 in the Netherlands.

No team managed to win all three games in the group format, underlining just how well balanced the tournament was. France beat England by a 2-1 scoreline on Day One, while the hosts were 1-0 victors against Germany. Ellen White's last-minute goal gave England a 1-0 triumph against the USA on Day Two, with France and Germany playing out a goalless draw.

Germany then overcame England by a 1-0 scoreline thanks to Anja Mittag's goal on Day Three, while Les Bleues' 3-0 win against the USA proved enough for the French to be crowned champions. Camille Abily opened the scoring with a penalty, before Eugenie Le Sommer doubled the lead shortly afterwards. Abily's second goal after the interval secured a comfortable win and top spot.

Final table: France (seven points), Germany (four points), England (three points), USA (three points)

Spain dethrone Canada Twelve teams took part in this year's Algarve Cup in Portugal as normal service was resumed after only eight were present in 2016. Just like last year, Canada eased into the final. John Herdman's side impressed in Group A, beating Denmark 1-0 and Russia 2-1, before making certain of top spot with a goalless draw against Portugal.

Spain put in an equally impressive showing. La Furia Roja beat Japan 2-1 and Norway 3-0 in Group B, before playing out a stalemate with Iceland to ensure safe passage to the final. Leila Ouahabi's goal in the final against Canada wrote history, knocking the Canadians off their throne and securing the Spanish side victory in their maiden participation at the Algarve Cup. The tournament triumph means La Furia Roja will be in confident mood going into the summer's UEFA Women's EURO, where Spain meet England, Scotland and Portugal in the group stages.

"The Algarve Cup is always a great tournament ‐ one of the best in the world," said Herdman at the final press conference. "It brings in a variety of teams, from Asia, Europe and the Americas, which gives it that little bit extra quality. You get to play against different styles of play, and Spain's was a good style for us to match up against. They were a really good opponent. They’ve shown their quality throughout the tournament and are peaking to be ready for the Euros, so they look a good prospect for that tournament."

Another UEFA Women's EURO participant, Norway had to settle for an 11th-place finish at the Algarve Cup, while Iceland and Sweden ended in ninth and seventh respectively after disappointing displays. EURO hosts the Netherlands finished fifth thanks to an impressive 3-2 triumph against Japan in the fifth-place match. Denmark's Pernille Harder was crowned tournament top scorer with four goals to her name and played a key role in her side's third-place finish, which came courtesy of a 4-1 penalty shoot-out victory against Australia after a 1-1 draw in normal time.

Switzerland hit their stride Following a maiden qualification for a UEFA Women's EURO, Switzerland continued their upward curve with the country's first-ever women's international tournament triumph in the 12-team Cyprus Cup.

The Eidgenossinnen impressed in the group stages, with 1-0 and 6-0 victories against Korea DPR and Italy respectively after a 2-2 draw with Belgium proving enough to secure a place in the final. There, the Swiss met Korea Republic and Lara Dickenmann's free-kick just before the hour was enough for a 1-0 triumph.

A 2-0 win against the Republic of Ireland helped Korea DPR to third place, but the tournament ended in disappointment for Austria, who failed to build on last year's good performances. The 2016 champions finished eighth, losing 3-2 on penalties to Belgium after a 1-1 draw in the seventh-place match.