Cyprus Cup 2014: England beaten by France in final

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter
England lose to France in Cyprus Cup final

Holders England relinquished the Cyprus Cup to bogey team France as a 40-year hoodoo was continued with a 2-0 defeat in the final.

In the 15th meeting between the two nations since 1974, England failed yet again to produce a victory.

Early goals from Gaetane Thiney and Camille Abily gave France the advantage and England rarely looked like pulling a goal back.

"France hurt us with their speed," said England coach Mark Sampson.

Sampson's team had performed admirably in their group games to beat Italy, Finland and Canada, the team they had beaten in last year's final.

But they were unable to overcome a slick French side that had totally outclassed England 3-0 at Euro 2013.

Sampson, who in December gave up his post at Bristol Academy to succeed Hope Powell as coach, said: "We were caught by a couple of sucker punches early on.

"But when we got into the game we began to control it and looked a much better team, especially in the second half.

"So there were lots of positives. The girls will be disappointed, but after this game they know they can take on teams as good as this."

In the final at Nicosia's GSP Stadium, England found it just hard to repel the attacks of Les Bleus, who made a lighting start with left winger Louisa Necib hitting the post after just three minutes.

They went ahead three minutes later, midfielder Gaetane scoring from close range following a run and cross by right winger Elodie Thomis.

Thomis then set up the 18th-minute second goal for midfielder Abily, who drove home from beyond the far post.

France continued to press up to half-time, but England had far more possession in the second period than they had enjoyed in the first.

However, substitute Jill Scott's 63rd-minute effort that flew over the bar was their only shot of the match.

Scotland missed out on third place when they drew 1-1 with South Korea but lost 3-1 on penalties.

Having drawn with France and beaten both the Netherlands and Australia in their group, this was Scotland's best showing at the Cyprus Cup.

The match against South Korea went into extra time and penalties after Kim Little's late goal had cancelled Younge Woo's opener.

Head coach Anna Signeul said: "It was a pity about the penalties, but we have drawn with a very good team and that was pleasing.

"It was another good performance here against a team ranked much higher than ourselves and another great experience for our players."

In the match for fifth place, the Republic of Ireland, after taking the lead, lost 2-1 to a last-minute goal by Canada.

Ruesha Littlejohn put the Republic in front, but Diana Matheson equalised and Sophie Schmidt hit the winner.