Thu, 28 Oct, 2021
Yongchuan: China took top honours in the Dewellbon Cup following Australia’s defeat to England in the final match of the international friendly tournament on Tuesday as the Steel Roses start to find their feet under recently appointed head coach Bruno Bini.
A second-half Izzy Christiansen strike saw the Matildas go down 1-0 to England as the Matildas and China ramp up their preparations for the final round of qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games at the three-team international tournament hosted by the Chinese Football Association (CFA).
Sam Kerr was twice denied by England keeper Karen Bardsley and the 2014 AFC Asian Women’s Cup runners-up were made to rue the USA-based winger’s missed opportunities - as well as Emily van Egmond’s header over the bar from six yards out - when Bardsley’s Manchester City team-mate Christiansen scored the only goal of the game with a fine angled strike in the 51st minute.
The defeat left the Matilda’s without a win from their two matches in China having also been held to a 1-1 draw by the hosts on Sunday, when a 12th-minute goal from Tameka Butt - who was making her 50th national team appearance - was cancelled out four minutes from the interval by Li Dongna.
That draw, and Australia’s subsequent loss to England, saw China top the standings after the eight-time AFC Women’s Asian Cup winners defeated the Lionesses 2-1 in Friday’s opening fixture courtesy of a double from former AFC Young Player of the Year nominee Wang Shuang.
China’s Dewellbon Cup victory follows in the wake of back-to-back friendly defeats to Spain in September in the first matches under Bini (pictured), who led the French women’s team to the semi-finals of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2012 Olympic Games, where they lost 2-1 to Japan.
“It’s great to see Bruno back involved in the game at international level. He played a big part in France’s development as a women’s football nation,” England coach Mark Sampson said in an interview with the English FA’s official website prior to the China match.
"He deserves an opportunity to come back into the game and I’m sure with his knowledge and experience, and working with some excellent Chinese players, he can be successful.”
China and Australia are both competing in the final round of qualifiers for the 2016 Olympic Games alongside DPR Korea, Korea Republic, second qualifying round winners Vietnam and hosts Japan, who defeated Australia in the 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup final and then again in the quarter-finals of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
The top two sides at the conclusion of the six-team, round-robin tournament, which is scheduled to kick-off at the end of February next year, will go on to represent Asia at the women’s football tournament of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio.