Having started the competition with a 3-1 win over Finland, a Jodie Taylor hat-trick helped England Women defeat Australia 3-0, a result which has kept Mark Sampson’s side in the running for a shot at a third Cyprus Cup title.
The Three Lions were winners in 2009 and 2013 and a draw against Holland on Monday will guarantee a place in next Wednesday’s final against the top side in Group A.
Taylor, making just her fifth appearance, fired England ahead early on with her first international goal, a tremendous angled effort, before doubling the advantage on 17 minutes. She came close to her treble strike twice in the second half before finally claiming her hat-trick with a cool finish late on.
There was still time for Sampson to hand Notts County’s Amy Turner, a late replacement for Casey Stoney, a senior team debut as England saw the game out with ease.
Only Laura Bassett and Alex Greenwood kept their place in the starting eleven from Wednesday, with Chelsea captain Katie Chapman making her first international appearance, her 83rd in total, since September 2010.
Liverpool skipper Gemma Bonner was forced to sit out following a red card on Wednesday.
Despite the nine changes, Sampson’s side got off to a lightning start. The game was just eight minutes old when Taylor gave England the lead with her maiden England goal. Jill Scott won possession in the centre circle, drove forward and laid the ball off to Taylor on the right-hand side of the Australia box. The Portland Thorns striker took the pass in her stride and unleashed an angled drive which fizzed beyond Matildas’ keeper Brianna Davey.
Things got even better for Taylor and England soon after. The 28-year-old linked up with strike partner Fran Kirby and beat Davey once again, this time with a curling effort from the opposite side of the box.
England ‘keeper Karen Bardsley was on-hand to field an Alanna Kennedy free-kick midway through the first half but after Taylor’s brace there was little in the way of action before the break.
Alen Stajcic’s side started the second half brightly, with Kennedy again trying to get Australia back in the contest, but shot tamely at Bardsley. Michelle Heyman then tried to capitalise on a slight mix-up in the England backline but hit a bouncing ball widely over the bar.
Taylor almost sealed her treble earlier in the game with an audacious effort from near the right-hand touchline, a full 35 yards from goal. Davey, to her credit, back-pedaled and tipped the ball away for a corner.
Three Lions captain Steph Houghton came close with a free-kick from just outside the box and Taylor again once more, chipping a left-foot shot just over the top. But she was not to be denied a third time, and calmly rounded Aussie sub ‘keeper Mackenzie Arnold to roll the ball into an empty net to complete a commanding England victory.
With Finland and Holland drawing 0-0 earlier in the day, if England draw on Monday they will seal a spot in another Cyprus Cup final.
England (4-4-2): 1 Karen Bardsley (Manchester City); 2 Alex Scott (Arsenal), 5 Steph Houghton (C; Manchester City), 6 Laura Bassett (Notts County), 14 Alex Greenwood (Notts County); 7 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), 8 Jill Scott (Manchester City), 17 Katie Chapman (Chelsea), 11 Karen Carney (Birmingham City); 9 Jodie Taylor (Portland Thorns), 10 Fran Kirby (Reading).
Substitutes: 16 Fara Williams (Liverpool) for J Scott 60, 22 Lianne Sanderson (Arsenal) for Kirby 71, 15 Amy Turner (Notts County) for A Scott 88, 4 Jo Potter (Birmingham City) for Houghton 90+1.
Substitutes not used: 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City), 13 Siobhan Chamberlain (Arsenal), 18 Jade Moore (Birmingham City), 19 Jess Clarke (Notts County), 20 Eniola Aluko (Chelsea), 23 Claire Rafferty (Chelsea).
Goals: Taylor 8, 17, 83
Bookings: J Scott 23
Head coach: Mark Sampson
Australia: 1 Brianna Davey, 3 Alanna Kennedy, 4 Clare Polkinghorne (C), 5 Laura Alleway, 6 Servet Uzunlar, 7 Stephanie Catley, 8 Elise Kellond-Knight, 11 Lisa De Vanna, 19 Katrina Gorry, 23 Michelle Heyman, 26 Larissa Crummer.
Substitutes: 10 Emily Van-Egmond for Gorry 61, 22 Nicola Bolger for Kennedy 61, 16 Hayley Raso for Uzunlar 71, 9 Caitlin Foord for Crummer 71, 21 Mackenzie Arnold for Davey 76
Substitutes not used: 12 Kate Gill, 14 Collette McCallum, 15 Teresa Polias, 17 Kyah Simon, 24 Ashleigh Sykes, 27 Gema Simon.
Head coach: Alen Stajcic