England opened their Cyprus Cup campaign with a 4-2 win against Italy in Group A as they began the build-up to July’s Women’s European Championship finals.

But Scotland, in the same group as England, lost 1-0 to New Zealand.

In Group C, Northern Ireland went down 5-1 to neighbours the Republic of Ireland.

Jordan Nobbs scored on her international debut

Hope Powell’s England won with goals from Jordan Nobbs, Steph Houghton, Jess Clarke and Ellen White.

They went ahead after just seven minutes through a tremendous 20-yard drive by debutant Nobbs as the 20-year-old Arsenal midfielder made a great start to her senior international career.

Italy responded with two goals by midfielder Elisa Camporese, who chipped in a 17th minute equaliser then scored from close range 10 minutes later.

But Arsenal left-back Houghton levelled the scores with a 29th minute header and Lincoln winger Clarke’s 33rd minute deflected shot regained England’s lead.

Both sides created chances in the second half before substitute White clinched victory, the Arsenal striker driving in a 15-yard shot seven minutes from time.

England coach Powell said: “It was a really good start to our preparations for the Euro finals.

“The manner in which we played and stuck to the game plan was pleasing in a very competitive contest.

Hope of history repeating?

After winning their opening group game in 2009, England went on to claim a maiden Cyprus Cup title

“Our discipline was good, we kept the ball moving well and the only disappointment was conceding two goals after taking the lead.

“But we rode the storm, got ourselves back in front and I thought we ended up deserving winners.”

Scotland went down 1-0 to New Zealand in their Cyprus Cup opener, Betsy Hassett’s 25th minute goal proving decisive in a hard-fought contest.

Worryingly for the Scots, with England coming up in their second group game on Friday, both Arsenal midfielder Kim Little and Potsdam winger Lisa Evans had to be substituted early in the second half after taking knocks.

Manager Anna Signeul said: “It was a difficult game against a good New Zealand team, but we had chances and might have got a draw.

“We rode the storm, got ourselves back in front and I thought we ended up deserving winners

” Hope Powell England coach

“We are concerned about our injury situation, but hopefully players will be healed by Friday.

“It will inspire the girls to play against England after we beat them 2-0 here in Cyprus two years ago.”

A depleted Northern Ireland side were outplayed by the Republic.

Debutant Alana McShane reduced the arrears after Diane Caldwell and Louise Quinn had given the Republic a two-goal lead.

But further goals by Megan Campbell, Shannon Smyth and Reusha Littlejohn completed a comfortable victory.

Northern Ireland manager Alfie Wylie said: “I thought 5-1 flattered the Republic, but they certainly deserved to win.

“Basic defensive errors cost us, but we had an inexperienced team out.

“We had six regular starters missing and a number of girls made debuts including a 16-year-old in Laura Rafferty.”

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