Lianne Sanderson goal secures England victory over Canada

By Tony LeightonWomen's football reporter
England celebrate Cyprus Cup victory

England won the Cyprus Cup final for the third time in six years as Lianne Sanderson's goal earned a 1-0 win against Canada.

Sanderson scored from 15 yards after Jordan Nobbs's through ball.

The win gives Mark Sampson's team a huge confidence boost three months ahead of the World Cup in Canada.

"We challenged the team to win the tournament and put pressure on them to deliver. They've done that fantastically well," Sampson said.

"I'm very proud of the players - this will give us a lot of confidence moving forward towards the World Cup finals."

All three of England's Cyprus wins have come against the Canadians, 3-1 in 2009 with Sanderson among the scorers, and 1-0 in 2013.

They were 2-0 losers to France in last year's final.

But against a Canada side that had been unbeaten in their previous nine outings, England made few mistakes.

In a bright start, midfielder Jill Scott had an 18-yard drive brilliantly saved by goalkeeper Erin McLeod.

At the other end keeper Siobhan Chamberlain had to react smartly to keep out a low 12-yard shot by striker Christine Sinclair.

In a first half of few scoring opportunities, Sinclair went close again when she headed substitute Adriana Leon's 34th minute cross just wide.

Heavy rain greeted the start of the second half, not helping Sanderson as she scuffed a 56th minute shot on the increasingly slippery surface.

But the striker had no such trouble 11 minutes later, racing on to Nobbs's through ball to coolly send a 15-yard shot past the advancing McLeod.

Canada pressed for an equaliser and almost got one five minutes into stoppage time, when left back Allysha Chapman's 20-yard drive was superbly saved by the diving Chamberlain.

The victory meant that England had gone through the tournament unbeaten after winning two and drawing the third of their group matches.

"We've proved throughout the tournament that we're a difficult team to play against," added head coach Sampson.

"We can play in all kinds of different ways. We can be solid and resolute, we can be open and expansive - we're becoming a team that not many will want to face in Canada."

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