Algarve Cup: Football Ferns crash out of contention after Italy thrashing

The Football Ferns have been knocked out on Algarve Cup contention, losing 3-0 to Italy at the Estádio Municipal Bela Vista in Portugal on Sunday (NZ time). 

Three days after beating Belgium in a penalty shootout, the Ferns were looking to qualify for the Algarve Cup for the first time - but they were no match against the rampant Italians, who made the quarter-finals of last year's Women's World Cup. 

With an eye on the Tokyo Olympics, Ferns coach Tom Sermanni opted to give some of the team's younger players a run, with Anna Leat, Annalie Longo and Rosie White all starting. 

Italy opened the scoring midway through the first half, when goalkeeper Leat failed to collect a cross from the right wing and Cristiana Girelli pounced on the loose ball. 

Just before halftime, New Zealand was awarded a penalty when Italian defender Alia Guagni handled the ball in the box.

White stepped up to take the shot, but her spot kick was saved by goalkeeper Katja Schroffenegger.

Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni.
Football Ferns coach Tom Sermanni. Photo credit: Photosport

Italy scored two more goals in the second half, with Barbara Bonansea and Stefania Tarenzi finding the back of the net. 

The Ferns will now play off for third against Norway, who were hammered 4-0 by Germany earlier.

Last time New Zealand played Norway, the Ferns claimed a 1-0 win.

The bronze final will take place on Wednesday.

The Algarve Cup is an annual invitational football tournament hosted by the Portuguese Football Federation. 

New Zealand previously competed in the tournament in 2016, where they finished fourth.