England win their first SheBelieves Cup with resounding victory over Japan


First-half goals from Lucy Staniforth, Karen Carney and Beth Mead were enough to see England win the SheBelieves Cup for the first time.

The Lionesses have participated in the tournament each year and victory in this year’s edition of the tournament is a mark of their progression.

In the inaugural competition in 2016, they finished third and repeated that the following year. Last year the Lionesses came second and they took the natural next step to win the tournament in 2019.

The victory against Japan in England’s final game came after they beat Brazil and drew with holders USA to top the table with seven points.

Lucy Staniforth collected a superb pass from Jodie Taylor and Japan goalkeeper Erina Yamane was unable to stop her low drive from creeping into the net.

Taylor got her second assist of the game when her cross was headed in by Karen Carney to give England a two-goal advantage. Japan’s defence was breached far too easily and it was non-existent when Beth Mead scored England’s third.

A sublime pass from Kiera Walsh, inside her own half, to Mead saw the Arsenal forward cut inside and fire home while Japan watched on.

Japan showed signs of improvement in the second half with England often pegged back into their own area but their shots were without menace and went wide of keeper Carly Telford’s post.

Yuka Momiki had a great chance after pouncing on a through ball from Kumi Yokoyama but the angle was not quite right and her dinked effort was wide of the mark.

England face Japan in the Women’s World Cup group stages this summer and will expect a much sterner test than this, where the game was done and dusted in the first half. The Lionesses will be in action next on 5 April when they will face Canada in a friendly.


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