Daily Digest: Rapinoe and Press goals help U.S. see of Brazil in SheBelieves Cup

Megan Rapinoe

In today’s news, Megan Rapinoe and Christen Press star for the U.S.A against Brazil, Jill Scott eyes a landmark appearance tomorrow, and Loughborough Lightning show their title credentials against the Saracens Mavericks.

Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe goals help the U.S. to victory over Brazil

The United States came a step closer to lifting the SheBelieves Cup for the fourth time as goals from Christen Press and Megan Rapinoe helped the hosts to a comfortable win.

Both sides had won their opening fixtures, but it was the U.S. who made the brighter start, with Press opening proceedings on 11 minutes to score her 59th international goal.

Rapinoe then doubled the lead two minutes from time, latching onto a cross from Lindsey Horan to become the joint top scorer of all-time in the SheBelieves Cup, drawing level on five with England’s Ellen White.

Megan Rapinoe celebrating with teammates

The United States now need just one point from their final game to retain their title, after Canada narrowly beat Argentina in last night's other fixture.

Sarah Stratigakis came on as a late substitute for Canada and scored a 92nd-minute winner to draw the North-American side level on points with Brazil.

The final round of games takes place on Wednesday, as the U.S. face Argentina and Canada take on Brazil, with both sides needing a win to have any chance of lifting the SheBelieves Cup trophy.

Jill Scott set to earn 150th England cap tomorrow against Northern Ireland

Everton midfielder Jill Scott could win her 150th international cap tomorrow when England face Northern Ireland in a friendly at St George’s Park.

Scott was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year Honours list for her services to women’s football, and will become only the second player ever to reach 150 England appearances, after Fara Williams, if she features in Hege Riise’s side.

It has been almost 15 years since Scott made her international debut, coming on for Kelly Smith in a 4-0 win over the Netherlands in August 2006. She’s since featured in five different World Cups, scoring 25 goals, the most recent of which came against Norway in 2019.

Jill Scott

This historic milestone has been a long time coming for the 34-year-old, with England having not played since March last year due to the pandemic due to games against Germany and Norway being cancelled.

Speaking about her thoughts leading into tomorrow’s game, Scott admitted that there have been some nerves.

“I probably have felt a little bit anxious about it because the opportunity was coming up and you get excited and then it was taken away and then it’s coming up,” she said.

“So I’m just trying to keep focused on the next day as much as possible, make sure I don’t fall into any potholes when I’m out for a walk or anything like that, because I’m just thinking I hope nothing happens.”

Dame Sarah Storey scouting for talented female cyclists to join professional peloton

14-time Paralympic gold medallist Dame Sarah Storey is on the lookout to find the best amateur female cyclists in the UK.

The 43-year-old, who has won 25 Paralympic medals and is a 29-time world champion across swimming and cycling, is starting the Skoda DSI Cycling Academy in the hope of finding talented cyclists to progress into the professional peloton.

The three-year programme aims to test to improve riders’ performance, nutrition and media profile to help young women make the leap from junior ranks into senior racing.

Dame Sarah Storey

Currently, men can graduate from junior level and into the under-23s for a period, but this category doesn’t fully exist for women at this time.

Four riders have already been signed up, but Storey is still looking for two more women, aged between 17 and 22, to nurture and develop.

Storey herself is aiming to compete at her eighth Games this summer in Tokyo.

Heather Knight says preparation for New Zealand series “wasn’t ideal”

England cricket captain Heather Knight has admitted that preparation for the team’s tour of New Zealand was hampered by the inability for the side to train as a group.

The side are still yet to play a competitive one-day international since coach Lisa Keightley took over on account of the sporting calendar being heavily affected by the pandemic.

Speaking in a column for BBC, Knight said: “Obviously our preparation prior to coming to New Zealand wasn’t ideal.”

Since arriving in New Zealand, England have played two warm-up matches, winning the first, before losing to a New Zealand XI by 30 runs. Despite the defeat, Knight was pleased to have had such testing games, and believes the side have learned a lot.

“You'd probably say we were a bit light on preparation going into them and now we know specifically what areas we need to improve upon in order to compete in that first ODI against the White Ferns.”

England’s opening match of the ODI series gets underway tomorrow.

Lightning thrash Mavericks in the Netball Superleague

Loughborough Lightning ended Saracens Mavericks unbeaten start to the Netball Superleague season last night following an emphatic 60-35 victory.

After defeat to Team Bath in their opening game, this was a statement of intent by Loughborough, who comprehensively outclassed the Mavericks in all departments to claim their second win of the season.

In the day’s other fixtures, Leeds Rhinos narrowly beat the Surrey Storm, Strathclyde Sirens triumphed over the Celtic Dragons, and Manchester Thunder defeated the London Pulse.

The Dragons and the Storm play again tonight, with Wasps taking on the unbeaten Team Bath. There are currently six sides locked on six points at the top of the Superleague, while the Celtic Dragons, London Pulse and Severn Stars are all yet to register a win this season.

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