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England 2 (Sanderson 1,32) Canada 0
Lianne Sanderson kept England on course to defend their Cyprus Cup crown, netting both goals in a 2-0 win over Canada in the Group A decider.
The 26-year-old opened the scoring inside the first minute, before slamming home a second just after the half-hour mark to cap an impressive first half from Mark Sampson's side and secure a place in Wednesday's final.
The Three Lions controlled proceedings from the off and could have been even further ahead before the break, with Ellen White and Toni Duggan missing decent chances. It mattered not, though, as Sanderson's double clinched a third straight win over the Olympic bronze medallists.
Sampson had fielded two entirely different line ups for the first two group games, but he reverted to the starting side that defeated Italy 2-0 on the opening day. Just as they did in those two matches, his side dictated the play from the off and made a dream start when Sanderson put them ahead after just 50 seconds.
Canada kicked off only for the Three Lions to take up possession almost immediately. The ball was worked out to the right where Karen Carney jinked her way to the by-line and stood up a cross to the back post, which Sanderson duly converted from close range.
With the wind in their sails, England's lead was almost doubled by Ellen White in the fourth minute, but Emily Zurrer cleared her effort off the line.
As the pace of the game settled, Fara Williams lost possession in midfield, forcing Lucy Bronze to play a back pass across her own area, which almost let in Josee Belanger. But pressure from captain Steph Houghton and goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain put the striker off and she fired her shot wildly off target.
That blip aside, England were putting together a number of neat passing moves, one which almost led to a second goal just before the half hour mark. Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs chipped a ball into the box which Sanderson cushioned into Duggan's path but Rhian Wilkinson, on her 150th appearance for Canada, slid in to hook it behind for a corner.
However, the reigning champions' progressive approach was eventually rewarded with a second goal and it came courtesy of Sanderson once more. Canadian goalkeeper Erin McLeod came off her line to deny Duggan a clean shot at goal and the rebound fell kindly for the Boston Breakers striker who rifled home a low shot from 15 yards to give her side some breathing space.
It could have been more had White been more accurate with two efforts late in the first half. The first was headed tamely into McLeod's arms while the second was blazed over from 18 yards.
Canada came into the game more in the second half but without looking like threatening to any great degree. Indeed, it was a fairly disjointed match after the break with neither side able to create many clear cut chances. Bronze's blushes were spared, though, after Christine Sinclair curled a shot wide following the Liverpool defender's loose pass inside her own box.
As is often the case in this friendly tournament, both sides made wholesale changes in the second half, keen to give minutes to as many players as possible and this played a large part in disrupting the game's flow.
Sampson's charges were gradually forced to defend for large spells, and although they rode their luck a few times they managed to hold firm for a third successive clean sheet - and a place in Wednesday's showpiece.
England: Siobhan Chamberlain, Alex Scott, Demi Stokes, Fara Williams, Lucy Bronze, Steph Houghton, Karen Carney, Jordan Nobbs (sub Jill Scott 80mins), Lianne Sanderson (sub Anita Asante 64mins), Ellen White (sub Natasha Dowie 72mins), Toni Duggan (sub Gemma Davison 86mins). Subs not used: Carly Telford, Laura Bassett, Eniola Aluko.
Canada: Erin McLeod, Emily Zurrer (sub Rebecca Quinn 61mins), Marie-Eve Nault (sub Robyn Gayle 45mins), Adriana Leon (sub Desiree Scott 45mins), Sophie Schmidt, Kaylyn Kyle (sub Brittany Baxter 61mins), Rhian Wilkinson (sub Nkem Ezurike 79mins), Diana Matheson, Josee Belanger, Christine Sinclair Kadiesha Buchanan. Subs not used: Stephanie Labbe, Karina LeBlanc, Rachel Quon.
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