Cyprus Cup 2014: Group-Stage Results, Knockout-Stage Fixtures, Final Predictions

Jason Pettigrove@@jaypetti1971Contributor IMarch 10, 2014

Reigning champions England are unbeaten in the group stage and haven't conceded a goal.
Reigning champions England are unbeaten in the group stage and haven't conceded a goal.Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

Since Wednesday, 12 nations have been competing at venues in Nicosia and Larnaca for the right to be crowned champions at the Cyprus Women's Cup 2014.

Now the stage is set for defending champions England and France to compete in Wednesday's final.

The competition started in fine style for England and last year's losing finalists Canada.

Mark Sampson, in his first tournament as England coach, saw his team open with a 2-0 victory over Italy, whilst group minnows Finland were no match for the Canadians, who romped to a 3-0 win.

All four other opening-day fixtures were drawn, putting England in a strong position from the off.

It was on Matchday 2 when the tournament action really began to heat up, however.

Per BBC Sport, Scotland's Lisa Evans' phenomenal 18-minute hat-trick put them on the road to victory over the Netherlands.

Renee Siegers and Lieke Martens had the Dutch back in it before half-time, but Jenny Beattie's fourth on 55 tipped the balance back in favour of the Scots.

There was still time for Manon Melis to grab a third, but Scotland held on in the seven-goal thriller. 

Australia and France shared five goals between them, but Canadian and English dominance was noticeable.

Anita Asante, Gemma Bonner and Eniola Aluko were on target as England again won convincingly, this time against bottom-of-the-group Finland.

Another two-goal victory, this time over the fancied Canadians, leaves Sampson surely fancying his team's chances in the tournament. The defending champions have played some sparkling football over their three games and go into the final unbeaten and yet to concede.

Let's take a look at a full breakdown of group results below, per, together with Finals Day fixtures and predictions.

Group Stage Results

Group A
March 5Canada vs. Finland3-0
March 5England vs. Italy2-0
March 7Finland vs. England0-3
March 7Italy vs. Canada1-3
March 10England vs. Canada2-0
March 10Italy vs. Finland1-1
Group B
March 5Netherlands vs. Australia2-2
March 5France vs. Scotland1-1
March 7Scotland vs. Netherlands4-3
March 7Australia vs. France2-3
March 10Netherlands vs. France0-3
March 10Australia vs. Scotland2-4
Group C
March 5New Zealand vs. Republic of Ireland1-1
March 5Switzerland vs. South Korea1-1
March 7Republic of Ireland vs. South Korea1-1
March 7Switzerland vs. New Zealand2-1
March 10Switzerland vs. Republic of Ireland1-2
March 10South Korea vs. New Zealand4-0

Finals Day Fixtures

Wednesday, March 12 (all times GMT)

11:00 Finland vs. New Zealand                                              

11:30 Switzerland vs. Netherlands                                                  

14:00 Ireland vs. Italy                                                      

14:00 South Korea vs. Australia                                                  

14:30 Canada vs. Scotland                                                      

18:00 England vs. France   


Only the bravest pundit would bet against England reclaiming their Cyprus Cup title.

Everything has come together nicely at the tournament for the reigning champions, and their excellence in defence has been the platform from which Mark Sampson's charges have built their victories.

Eni Aluko has caught the eye throughout, and her goal against Finland was a tangible reward for her tenacity and incisive attacking play.

Sampson should ensure that there is no complacency amongst the side as this is the only barrier to them lifting the trophy.

Scotland looked all set to join them after producing some free-flowing football to put four past Australia in a 4-2 win. However, a 94th-minute goal from the French side in their 3-0 triumph over the Netherlands took them through by virtue of a single-goal better goal difference than the Scots.

Scotsman Sport shared the news via their Twitter account:

After a lacklustre draw against Scotland in their opener, the French improved slightly to record a 3-2 win against the Australians. 

At three up in the game, they were coasting to victory but almost allowed their opponents back in, conceding two early in the second half.

A backs-against-the-wall last half hour saw them through, but against a rampant England side, they will be hard pressed to keep Aluko and Co. at bay for the full 90 minutes.

Let battle commence!

Prediction: England 3-1 France


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