Wales have finished top of Group C in the Algarve Cup for the second successive season.
Wales 2-1 Hungary
5 March 2012
Wales topped Group C in the 2012 Algarve Cup after a Helen Lander brace secured all three points against Hungary on Monday.
The Chelsea striker struck after just 10 minutes to give Jarmo Matikainen’s side the perfect start before doubling Wales’ advantage with a second goal three minutes after half time.
But depite the victory, Matikainen was disappointed after his side conceded a late goal, suggesting the second half performance on Monday wasn’t good enough.
“We’ve had two and a half very good performances so far,” he told Sgorio. “We hope to have secured three and a half very good performances by Wednesday night.”
This is the second successive season Wales have finished top of their group despite their opponents being ranked higher than them on Fifa’s world rankings list.
Wales now face Norway in the last game of the tournament after the four times winners lost all three of their Group B matches against Japan, USA and Denmark.
Algarve Cup – how does it all work?
The Algarve Cup is one of the most prestigious competitions in women’s football with the best teams in the world being invited to take part.
The tournament is organised by the associations of Norway, Sweden and Denmark with home side, Portugal, also receiving an invitation.
And it is the American women’s side who have been most successful in the tournament’s history winning the competition on seven occasions since it’s inception in 1994.
In the first seven years, only eight teams were invited but in 2002 it was decided to create a second tier of competition to give some of the lesser ranked nations the chance of competitive matches.
The eight highest ranked nations are placed in Groups A and B and play off for the championship whilst the teams in Group C play for the right to compete for the 7th to 12th places.
As Wales have finished top of Group C they face Norway – who finished bottom of Group B – to decide who finishes 7th and 8th in the competition – 7th being the best possible position Wales could have achieved from Group C.
Wales 0-0 Republic of Ireland
2 March 2012
Wales are top of Group C in the Algarve Cup following a goalless draw against the Republic of Ireland in Desportivo da Nora Park, Ferreiras.
It was an excellent result for Wales against a team who beat them 2-0 in a Euro 2013 qualifying match in Newport back in September and sit 17 places above Wales in the Fifa rankings.
Jarmo Matikainen made two changes to the team who beat Portugal in the opening match as Nicola Davies replaced Rhian Noakes in goal whilst Hannah Keryakoplis started up front in place of Helen Bleazard.
Gwennan Harries, winning her 50th cap, worked tirelessly up front but despite Wales failing to find the back of the net, keeping a second successive clean sheet is sure to have pleased Matikainen as he prepares the squad to face Hungary in the last group match on Monday.
Portugal 0-1 Wales
29 February 2012
Angharad James bagged a last minute goal to secure a deserved victory for Wales in their opening match of the 2012 Algarve Cup.
The home side had beaten Wales 3-1 in the opening match of last year’s tournament but the strength and maturity of Jarmo Matikainen’s side was clear this season as they defended solisly and created several good chances.
Jess Fishlock, who won her 50th cap in the match, and Sophie Ingle came closest to grabbing the opening goal in an exciting first half in the Estádio Municipal, Parchal before Wales captain, Jayne Ludlow, struck a second half free kick against the crossbar.
And Ludlow was instrumental in the move which led to her Arsenal team-mate, James, grabbing the all important goal.
Ingle crossed from the right and Ludlow rose higher than goalkeeper, Jamila Marreiros, to head the ball into James’ path and the substitute had the easy task of netting from five yards to secure the three points for Wales.
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