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NZ finish Cypus Cup on a high

New Zealand's Jasmine Pereira. Image: OFC via Phototek

The New Zealand Football Ferns have finished their Cyprus Cup on a high after defeating Hungary 3-1 in their final game at the Tasos Marko stadium in Parolimni to finish the tournament in ninth place.

New Zealand celebrated International Women’s Day with a dominant performance with Rosie White scoring a double to finish on three goals and the top goal scorer of the tournament, and Jasmine Pereira netted her first international goal.

New Zealand coach Tony Readings was happy to secure the first victory of the tour and said the most encouraging aspect has been the development of his squad throughout the Cyprus Cup.

“We were very happy with the win and it was a very strong performance,” he said.

“We were the far better team throughout. The performance was good and there was a number of good performances from individual players but this was also a reminder for us that we should be winning these games more comfortably and putting teams to bed a lot earlier than what we did. But at the same time we have to be happy we had three losses to start off with and to finish a tour on a win is the best way.”

Readings said his team created a plethora of chances and could have been up by four or five goals by the hour mark.

White, who will head to her new club the Boston Breakers tomorrow, continued her fine goal scoring form in recent time with an important double and it was a significant moment for Pereira who finished her first goal in her 25th international for New Zealand.

“This is what this tournament has all been about for us. We wanted to give game time to different players.”

Readings said there were plenty of lesson learnt during the tour that will be invaluable for the development of the team moving forward. He said many players in this group are adjusting to the step up to international football.

“We are going to have that when we have new, younger players coming in and they are learning the ropes of how to win games at this level. It was good to win today and we would have liked to have won more but we have had the opportunity to look at a lot more players and different formations which is something we haven’t been able to do.”

Readings singled out White and Katie Bowen as the standout performers for New Zealand at the Cyprus Cup.

“The style and the shape that we are playing really compliments Rosie’s game,” he said.

“It is good that we are getting the most out of her. Katie Bowen isn’t someone who has started regularly for us but she has come into this tournament and probably been our best player.”

New Zealand are hoping to confirm some international fixtures for the June window so they can continue this momentum.

“We go away from the tournament now knowing that we have a lot more depth and a lot more competition for places which is what we have lacked in the past. So in that regard the tour was a real success.”

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