The wait for the Arnold Clark Cup is over and the action of the new invitational tournament is underway.
Germany and Spain kicked it all off on Thursday afternoon, followed by a clash between England and Canada later in the evening.
Both matches at the Riverside Stadium in Middlesbrough ended in a draw, but neither were short of excitement as some of the best players in the world showed off their pedigree.
Fans were treated to some spectacular goals as the first lot of fixtures played out and it was none other than Alexia Putellas who set the tone of the tournament.
Alexia Putellas vs Germany
After a decorated 2021, the Spaniard added to her impressive portfolio by netting the first ever Arnold Clark Cup goal with a fantastic strike.
Nothing could separate the two sides in the first half but the Ballon d’Or winner was quick out the blocks after the restart to bury the opening goal of the match.
After a misjudged clearance from the Germany defence, Putellas lobbed the ball over goalkeeper Merle Frohms, who could do absolutely nothing about the Spanish star’s quick thinking and impeccable finish.
Germany salvaged a point in the dying minutes of the match after Lea Schüller capitalised on a loose ball to force the equaliser.
But despite an even result and strong performances from both teams, it was the strike from Putellas that stole the spotlight.
One fan has already called for the Spaniard to be awarded MVP [Most Valuable Player] status at the tournament.
When you are that good, you simply don't need to look at it.— Alex 🐥💕🤟🏻 (@Nepovtorim11) February 17, 2022
La mejor del Mundo Alexia Putellas. https://t.co/jfP0eqxRm3
Alexia Putellas is inevitable. Just give her whatever the mvp trophy is at this tournament— A (@Isntthatsomeshh) February 17, 2022
Millie Bright vs Canada
There’s just something about a goal from a defender that hits a little bit sweeter.
The Riverside Stadium erupted as Millie Bright sent the ball thundering into the back of the Canada net to give the Lionesses the lead in the first half.
The England centre-back latched onto a poor Canadian clearance and struck the ball perfectly on the volley.
As a senior Chelsea and England player, Bright has often shown glimpses of this talent in her locker, but it didn’t stop supporters from being starstruck by her goal.
What a hit! https://t.co/P7lmCix9It— Daniel (@Daniel_CPFC) February 17, 2022
MILLIE BRIGHT IS ON FIRE TODAY 🔥— Mini ✨ (@the_miniii) February 17, 2022
Exquisite Millie Bright!!!— Katy Sandalls (@katysandalls) February 17, 2022
Janine Beckie vs England
Canada’s Janine Beckie, who plays against Bright on the domestic stage, clearly wanted to match her Women’s Super League rival’s effort when it came down to a clash of the countries.
Thanks to the Manchester City forward, the Canadians were able to snatch a goal and snub England of an historic first Arnold Clark Cup win.
Janine Beckie. Top left corner 💫— Attacking Third (@AttackingThird) February 17, 2022
Canada levels with England in the 54th minute. 🌟 pic.twitter.com/7zT25nbU1i
Beckie sent a beautiful ball curling past Mary Earps to pull the scoreline even for her country in the second half.
Several fans praised the 27-year-old for her “outstanding finish” to keep Canada in the match.
Beautiful goal by you Janine. I say so as an England fan. Very entertaining match and a fair result.— Steve cooper (@scooper00123) February 18, 2022
Jesus Janine…. Outstanding finish!! Good result You girls get some rest then bring it on Sunday..⚽️🇨🇦— Rocco (@59roccom) February 18, 2022
Incredible strike! Way to go Canada!— Unkel Merle (@MerleUnkel) February 17, 2022
The next lot of Arnold Clark Cup fixtures will take place on Sunday, February 20th at Norwich City’s Carrow Road. England will take on Spain at 15.15 GMT, with Canada coming up against Germany at 20.15 GMT.