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Athenea named player of the match vs. England; Asllani scores vs. Portugal

Ivana, Cardona, Athenea, Misa, Olga, Esther, and Asllani all got minutes on international duty.

England v Spain - Arnold Clark Cup Photo by Lynne Cameron - The FA/The FA via Getty Images

England 0-0 Spain (Arnold Clark Cup)

By: Yash Thakur

The Arnold Clark Cup continued with yet another big fixture, as Spain were up against England. England made nine changes from the lineup against Canada while Spain made a total of five from the side that played vs. Germany.

Spain lined up in their typical 4-3-3, with Misa in goal. Cardona, Ivana, and Misa all started the game for Spain while Athenea, Olga, and Esther featured off the bench. Wiegman deployed England in a 4-2-3-1, with Ellen White leading the line and Nobbs playing in the #10 role. Stanway and Jill Scott formed the double pivot as Daly filled in at LB. The game ended goalless but it did not lack action.

Ivana was deployed as the RCB and partnered Mapi in central defense. The former had a good game; her distribution was decent and she did well defensively. Cardona, who started on the right in the front three, showed glimpses of what she can produce. She used her pace to drive with the ball and tried taking on players near the byline, but her overall impact is still not at the levels fans expect from her.

It was a stalemate of a first half; England’s press and physicality largely neutralized Spain’s approaches and disrupted their rhythm.

Both teams made half-time subs, with Athenea coming on for Cardona and Hemp replacing Parris. Athenea absolutely set the stage on fire, torching Bronze on the left flank. In addition to wreaking havoc with her pace and trickery, Madrid’s precocious winger put in a shift to help out her fullback partner. She came close to winning the game at the end only to be denied by Hannah Hampton.

Athenea was voted the “Player of the Match” for her excellent display.

Olga replaced Ona Batlle at left back in the 63rd minute and had a decent performance, although Bronze gave Olga a hard time defensively here and there.

In the dying minutes, Vilda threw on Esther for Jenni in search of a winner.

Misa didn’t have a lot to do throughout the game but was solid when called upon. Her distribution wasn’t great, however, and this didn’t help Spain’s cause vs. the press in the beginning.

So far, all three games in the Arnold Clark cup have ended in a stalemate but England currently sit top thanks to their disciplinary record.

Spain face Canada up next on February 23rd.

Portugal 0-4 Sweden (Algarve Cup)

By: Om Arvind

Sweden lined up in a 4-4-2/4-2-3-1 with many of their starters on the bench and eased to victory over Portugal in the Algarve Cup. However, they didn’t get on the scoresheet until the second half, blowing a huge opportunity in front of goal in the 38th minute.

After the break, Sweden’s set-piece efficacy did the trick.

With the match wrapped up by the hour mark, Peter Gerhardsson still decided to bring on the likes of Sofia Jakobsson, Fridolina Rolfö, and Kosovare Asllani, the last of whom made it 3-0 on the rebound.

Sweden returned to their patented method of scoring for the fourth, concluding the rout.

Asllani played fairly well in her substitute appearance. In addition to the goal, she pressed with vigor and connected with her teammates between the lines.

Sweden contest their final game on February 23rd, presumably at 11:00 am local time.