International football again claimed the spotlight this week with UEFA Women’s EURO looming fast on the horizon, while a number of teams from outside the Old Continent also took the field. USA continued their winning form in spectacular fashion with yet another comfortable victory, this time over Korea Republic. Further afield, Australia edged out great rivals New Zealand in two typically hard-fought contests.
Stars and Stripes cruise
USA maintained their lengthy unbeaten run – now sitting at 33 matches dating back to March last year – with a comfortable 4-1 victory over Korea Republic in Foxborough. Goals from hometown girl Kristie Mewis, plus further strikes from Lauren Cheney, Carli Lloyd and Abby Wambach gave Tom Sermanni’s team an easy win in the first of two international friendlies against the east Asians in the span of six days. Cho Sohyun pulled a goal back to make it 2-1 midway through the first half, with USA adding two more to their tally in the second period. FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Abby Wambach scored the final goal in injury time to take her tally to 156, just two shy of Mia Hamm’s world record.
Aussies edge regional rivals
Australia finally made their debut under new coach Hesterine De Reus, and it was a successful start to the Dutchwoman’s tenure with the Matildas narrow victors over long-term rivals New Zealand. Michelle Heyman scored the lone goal in Canberra in the first of a two-match series on Thursday. The second contest was even tighter for the youthful Australians who fielded a range of teenagers in their starting side. Captain Clare Polkinghorne scored the opener for the home side, however the ever-dangerous Sarah Gregorius equalised. The Kiwis pressed hard for the winner and the Aussies were made to work overtime to protect their 19-year unbeaten run against the Football Ferns. A penalty shoot-out was used to find a winner in the second match with young Aussie goalkeeper Brianna Davey displaying her potential with two impressive stops as the locals prevailed 4-2 on spot kicks.
Aspirants’ ramp up preparations
Reigning European champions Germany stepped up their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 preparations with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Scotland in Essen. Lena Gossling had given Silvia Neid's team an early lead, before the increasingly-prolific Celia Okoyino da Mbabi put the outcome beyond doubt with a quickfire double. Germany now take on 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup™ hosts Canada on Wednesday, with Neid to name her squad for Sweden 2013 the following day.