- The sixth annual SheBelieves Cup will take place from February 18 to 24
- Rivals Argentina and Brazil will meet at the start of the mini-tournament
- There are three Olympic participants
In preparation for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020 ™, competitive games are extremely important for the participating teams. With Brazil, Canada and the USA, three Olympians will compete in the SheBelieves Cup 2021, which starts on Thursday. Argentina became the fourth participant after Japan canceled participation in the tournament due to the COVID-19 situation there.
All six games will be played at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. The schedule (all times in local time):
- February 18: Brazil v Argentina, 4 p.m.
- February 18: USA v Canada, 7:00 p.m.
- February 21: USA – Brazil, 3 p.m.
- February 21: Argentina v Canada, 6:00 p.m.
- February 24: Canada v Brazil, 4 p.m.
- February 24: USA v Argentina, 7:00 p.m.
Big rivalries in focus
On the first day of the SheBelieves Cup, two major rivalries are revived. First Brazil meets Argentina, then Canada meets the USA.
This is the first time Argentina is competing in the tournament, looking to build on its remarkable performance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 ™, where the Argentines drew two and scored their first points in tournament history. At the Copa America Femenina 2018 Argentina finished third and had to admit defeat twice to eventual tournament winners Brazil: once in the group stage (1: 3) and once in the knockout round (0: 3).
Every game in the SheBelieves Cup should be a challenge for Carlos Borrello’s team, as the Argentines are currently 31st in the FIFA / Coca-Cola world rankings. The three other tournament participants are all in the top ten: The USA leads the ranking, Brazil and Canada share eighth place. However, the tournament undoubtedly presents a valuable opportunity for those Albiceleste.
The rivalry between Canada and the United States is unparalleled in international football, and the two teams will meet for the 61st time on Thursday. However, it is the first duel in the SheBelieves Cup, as the Canadians make their debut at this tournament. The two teams competed against each other in the Concacaf qualification for Tokyo 2020, where the reigning world champion USA prevailed 3-0 thanks to goals from Lynn Williams, Lindsey Horan and Megan Rapinoe.
The USA will start at the SheBelieves Cup as defending champions. In the 2020 edition, they prevailed against Spain, England and Japan. Vlatko Andonovski’s squad has plenty of stars, including Carli Lloyd, Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn and Julie Ertz. At the same time, however, a number of promising young players such as Catarina Macario, Sophia Smith and Midge Purce are starting.
- Brazil recently extended head coach Pia Sundhage’s contract to 2024. Sundhage was responsible for the US national team from 2008 to 2012, the two teams will meet on February 21.
- Canada’s football icon and world record goal scorer Christine Sinclair cannot take part in the tournament due to an injury.
- The Canadian Sophie Schmidt is expected to play her 200th international match during the tournament.
- US midfield star Sam Mewis is still recovering from an ankle injury. Jaelin Howell takes her place.
“On a scale from 1 to ‘sipping tea’, I would say I’m just waiting for the tea to cool down a bit so I can take a little sip. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m close.”
“I’m really excited about the games because we’re well positioned at the moment. A lot of players are looking forward to the chance to play against top teams. Even though Japan won’t be there, we’re looking forward to duels with three fantastic teams. We are preparing like on test games for the Olympics. “
Alex Morgan your current fitness level (on a scale from ‘one to sipping a cup of tea against England’)
“We need young players who can break through and who can assert themselves in competition. This country can not only rely on Marta, Formiga or Cristiane. The mix of older and young players is very important for the success of the country. We have Started scouting, it’s crucial because we think it’s important to get some new players. Hopefully when you see us play you will say, ‘Okay this is a team. It’s a closed team. Marta and Debinha who have played in the US for a while you already know and they are good. I would like to bring up another name and that is ‘Rafa’ (Rafaelle) who is under contract in China. I really hope that she stays healthy and fit because she is a crucial element of the back four. You should keep an eye on her. “
Brazil’s head coach Pia Sundhage on the podcast “Fútbol with Grant Wahl”
“In view of the current situation, this is a good chance for players to distinguish themselves and to show that they can keep up at the Olympic level. We will use the tournament to evaluate the pool of players and see whether the players are big enough to achieve our goals at the Olympics. “
Canada’s head coach Beverly Priestman