England Women overcame a stern test in the form of Italy on Sunday, as the Three Lionesses triumphed by a score of 2-1. It was a game which could have gone either way.
It was England who opened the scoring through Rachel Daly, who is thriving in her natural position on the wing. She drifted centrally to get on the end of a Katie Robinson cross, which the Aston Villa superstar duly headed home into the corner of the net.
Daly could’ve made it two early in the second half when she met another cross, this time from Maya Le Tissier, but sprayed her finish high and wide. Jordan Nobbs also came very close, only to be denied by a point blank save from Laura Giuliani.
Then, against the run of play, Italy struck. Barbara Bonansea weaved her way into the area, playing in a ball that was headed in by Sofia Cantore – it looked to have been kept out initially, but the goal was awarded and Italy drew level.
The scores weren’t equal for long, however. A wonderful cross from 21-year-old Lauren James was once again met by the head of Daly, who guided the ball past Guiliana to give England the lead for the second time in the game.
This time, Italy could not find a response and England won their sophomore Arnold Clark Cup game. The Three Lionesses will next take on Belgium, who, like them, have also won their last two games in the tournament.
In many ways, the game against Belgium will feel like a cup final – can England emerge victorious?