England women: Jodie Taylor sinks Australia in Cyprus Cup

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter
Jodie Taylor
The Cyprus Cup is held annually with 12 teams taking part

Jodie Taylor hit a hat-trick to give England a 3-0 group win over Australia and a place in the Cyprus Cup final.

The Portland Thorns striker was outstanding on the day that also marked Chelsea captain Katie Chapman's long-awaited return to internationals.

Taylor won the Group B game with her first three England goals in what was her fifth international appearance.

Cyprus Cup: England Jodie Taylor scores against Australia

She struck twice in the opening 17 minutes then completed her hat-trick seven minutes from time.

The victory meant that England, with maximum points from their opening two games, cannot be overtaken at the top of the group.

And with the head-to-head group result deciding which team goes into the final if two finish level on points - and with Australia the only other team capable of ending with six points - England are set for their third successive Cyprus final.

Head Coach Mark Sampson said: "It's great to be into the final again, but we've got Holland in our last group game so first of all we want to win that match.

"We want to go into the final in style, with another good victory under our belt.

"I'm really pleased for Jodie today, she's been playing well for us and those goals have been coming.

"But I don't want to single out anyone, it was a really efficient team performance and the players can be proud of it."

England line-up
Katie Chapman (second from right) was in the England line up for the first time in over four years

Sampson was delighted to have Chapman back in the fold and winning her 83rd cap in her first England appearance since September 2010

"It's good to have Katie back in the group," said the coach, "she fitted back in as if she hadn't been away

"She was positionally very sound, as aggressive as ever, good on the ball and a threat in both boxes."

Mother of three Chapman had been in international exile following childcare issues with former England coach Hope Powell.

"It's great to be back after so many years and representing my country again," said the 32-year-old midfielder.

"I felt that I played well today, but so did the whole team. It was a great result."

The result was set up by Taylor's eighth minute opener, a stinging cross-shot, and a neat 18-yard lob for the second goal nine minutes later.

Australia, like England heading for the summer's World Cup finals, made little impression in attack as they tried to hit back.

Their first moment of danger did not arrive until 12 minutes into the second half, striker Michelle Heyman racing through to shoot narrowly over the bar.

At the other end six minutes later, however, only a brilliant save by goalkeeper Brianna Davey denied Taylor a hat-trick goal from a stunning 30-yard drive.

But the striker then bagged her third goal in the 83rd minute, taking advantage of a defensive mix-up to slide the ball into an empty net.