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Women’s Olympic Football Tournament
- The sixth annual SheBelieves Cup runs from 18 to 24 February
- Argentina-Brazil rivalry starts mini-tournament
- Three involved Tokyo 2020-bound teams
In preparation for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020 ramps up, competitive matches will be the key for the participating teams. Three teams heading to Tokyo 2020, Brazil, Canada and the United States, will compete in the 2021 SheBelieves Cup, which kicks off on Thursday. Argentina will also compete after replacing Japan, which withdrew from participation due to COVID-19 status there.
All six matches take place at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium. Here is the full schedule (all times local EST):
- February 18: Brazil – Argentina, 16:00
- February 18: USA – Canada, 7 p.m.
- February 21: USA – Brazil, 15:00
- February 21: Argentina – Canada, 6 p.m.
- February 24: Canada – Brazil, 4 p.m.
- February 24: USA – Argentina, 19:00
On the opening match day for SheBelieves, two tempting rivalries will be revived, first with Brazil and Argentina followed by Canada and the United States.
Argentina, making their debut in SheBelieves, will build on their honorable mention at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 ™, where they recorded two draws and their first points in competition history. At the Copa America Femenina 2018, Argentina finished in third place and fell twice to the final champions Brazil; 3-1 in the group stage and 3-0 in the final phase.
Each match in the SheBelieves Cup will be an upward match for Carlos Borrello’s side, who are currently ranked 31st in the FIFA / Coca-Cola women’s world rankings. The other three teams involved are all in the top 10: the United States (1), Brazil and Canada are tied for eighth. However, there is no doubt that this represents a valuable opportunity The Albiceleste.
Canada-USA is one of the toughest rivals in international football, and their match on Thursday will be their 61st meeting in history, but it will be the first time the two meet in the SheBelieves Cup as the Canadians make their debut in the tournament. The two sides met during Concacaf’s Tokyo 2020 qualifiers, where the women’s world championships in the USA won 3-0 thanks to goals from Lynn Williams, Lindsey Horan and Megan Rapinoe.
The United States will defend their SheBelieves Cup title in 2020, finishing ahead of Spain, England and Japan. Lots of star names are included in Vlatko Andonovski’s team, including Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn and Julie Ertz, but a number of promising young players are set to play as Catarina Macario, Sophia Smith and Midge Purce.
News and notes
- Brazil recently extended head coach Pia Sundhage’s contract until 2024 – Sundhage coached USWNT from 2008 to 2012, and the two sides will meet on 21 February
- Canada’s legendary and international football record scorer Christine Sinclair misses due to injury
- Canada’s Sophie Schmidt is ready to earn her 200th cap during the tournament
- US star midfielder Sam Mewis, who is completing his rehabilitation after an ankle injury, has been replaced by Jaelin Howell
What they said
“From one to sipping tea I would say I’m waiting for the tea to cool down right now to take a sip. I’m not quite there, but it’s coming soon enough.
“I’m really excited about these games because we’re in a really good place right now. A lot of the players are excited about the opportunity to play top teams. Whether Japan drop out, we have three great teams, we’m looking forward to We are preparing as these are preparation games for the Olympics. “
Alex morgan at her current fitness level (asked on a scale of ‘one to sip a cup of tea against England’)
“We need new players coming up and we need them to be able to compete so this country can not trust Marta, Formiga or Cristiane. That mix of old and young is so important that this country can succeed. We started scouting and that’s the key because we think it’s important to find some new players. When you see us play I hope you say, ‘Okay, there’s a team. It’s a cohesive team. “You know Marta and Debinha who have been playing in the US for a while and they are good. I would like to drop another name and it is ‘Rafa’ (Rafaelle) who plays in China. I really hope she stays healthy and fit because she wants to make the difference on the back four, so keep an eye on her. “
Brazil’s head coach Pia Sundhage speaks on Fútbol with Grant Wahl podcast
“Given the new roster realities, what a great opportunity for players to stand up and show that they can compete at this Olympic level. The tournament will be used to assess the player pool and the players’ readiness to reach our goals at the Olympics. ”
Canada’s head coach Bev Priestman