5 Mar 2011

Football Ferns win in Cyprus

2:08 pm on 5 March 2011

First half strikes from Kirsty Yallop and Betsy Hassett have led the New Zealand women's football team to a 2-1 victory over Switzerland in Larnaca at the Cyprus Cup on Saturday morning.

A shot from Hassett rebounded to Yallop just inside the box and the midfielder showed poise and close control to slip a covering defender and beat the closing goalkeeper for the 38th minute opener.

Hassett doubled the score just three minutes later when she drove a firm shot towards the back post that deflected off a defender and gave the Football Ferns a healthy halftime lead which the Swiss only cut into seven minutes from fulltime.

In keeping with the aim of trying different combinations throughout the tournament with a view on the FIFA Women's World Cup in June and July, New Zealand coach John Herdman made six changes in the second half trialled players in new roles from start to finish.

In the day's other Group B encounter The Netherlands continued their good form with a 2-1 win over France that keeps them in pole position for top spot and a place in next Thursday's final, although the winner of New Zealand clash against France on Tuesday morning could potentially overtake them if the Dutch lose to Switzerland in their final group game.

A win over France would at least guarantee a third consecutive top four finish at the Cyprus Cup but New Zealand will be keeping things up their sleeve when they meet the World number 8.

England and Mexico, two of New Zealand's World Cup opponents present in the tournament's other groups, had contrasting days with the English losing 2-nil to rivals Scotland and Mexico holding South Korea to a 1-all draw.