Women’s tournaments come to the fore in March
No fewer than six women’s competitions on the agenda
Algarve Cup to be held for 27th time
Tournoi de France launches with impressive line-up of teams
March tends to be a busy month in the world of women’s football. Prestigious events like the Algarve Cup and the Cyprus Cup are two of the highlights, as is the increasingly respected SheBelieves Cup, which has been running for four years now.
In addition to these must-see competitions, a brand-new tournament – the Tournoi de France – has joined the fray, and if the quality of the teams involved is anything to go by, it is likely to establish itself as a mainstay of the women’s football calendar fairly quickly. FIFA.com takes a look at what to expect in an action-packed month.
4-11 March 2020, Portugal
Most successful team: USA (ten wins)
Participants: Germany, Sweden, Norway, Italy, Denmark, Belgium, New Zealand and Portugal (the teams in bold took part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™)
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Melanie Leupolz: Appointed captain of Bayern Munich and vice-captain of Germany, the 25-year-old midfielder has recently been excelling at home and in Europe, taking her leadership responsibilities to heart.
Two teams currently occupying the top five of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, Germany (2) and Sweden (5), will appear in Portugal. Coincidentally, the two teams will face off right from the outset. Consequently, one of these sides will not make the semi-finals.
Hosts Portugal have never managed a better showing than third place, which they secured in 2018.
For the first time since 2016, only eight teams – as opposed to 12 – will take part in the tournament. Since 2012, teams have competed in an initial group stage, whereas this year the entire competition will follow a knockout format.
5-11 March 2020, Cyprus
Holders: Korea DPR
Most successful teams: Canada and England (three wins each)
Participants: Mexico, Czech Republic, Finland, Slovakia and Croatia
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Linda Sallstrom: Having scored four times for Paris FC in the French league this season, the experienced striker, who boasts 90 caps and 37 goals for Finland, will spearhead her country’s attack in Cyprus.
Thailand were scheduled to take part in the tournament, but they withdrew due to fears surrounding the coronavirus.
Among these five teams, only Mexico have previously secured a top-three finish at the Cyprus Cup (third in 2015). They are also the only side to have appeared at a Women’s World Cup.
Finland and Czech Republic go head-to-head in their opening match. The two nations are currently joint 28th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking.
5-11 March 2020, United States
Most successful team: USA (two wins)
Participants: USA, England, Japan and Spain (all competing teams took part in France 2019)
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Jennifer Hermoso: The Spanish league’s leading goalscorer (23 goals) will be keen to make her mark in Spain’s first appearance at the tournament.
As she is eight months pregnant, Alex Morgan, the USA’s fifth top goalscorer (107) of all time, will not be involved this time around.
England, propelled by Ellen White, the competition’s top scorer with four goals, head to the USA to defend their title and gain revenge for their semi-final defeat by the USA at France 2019.
Spain are the seventh team to be invited to the tournament after USA and England (five times), France and Germany (three times), Japan (twice) and Brazil (once).
Tournoi de France
4-11 March 2020, France
Holders: N/A (inaugural edition)
Participants: France, Netherlands, Canada and Brazil (all competing teams took part in the 2019 Women’s World Cup)
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Marie-Antoinette Katoto: Disappointed with her omission from France’s squad for last year’s World Cup, the Paris Saint-Germain striker will be anxious to make up for lost time and show that there is a reason she is the French league’s top scorer.
Eight months after the final of the Women’s World Cup, France will provide the stage for a new international contest featuring four teams that reached the knockout stages in 2019.
The Netherlands will play twice in Valenciennes. The Stade du Hainaut constituted a happy hunting ground for the Dutch at France 2019; it was there that they defeated Cameroon 3-1 during the group stage and beat Italy 2-0 in the quarter-finals.
Of all the tournaments taking place in early March, the Tournoi de France is the only one to pit four teams sitting in the top ten of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking – Netherlands (3), France (4), Canada (8) and Brazil (9) – against each other.
And let’s not forget...
There are two other women’s tournaments on the schedule. The Pinatar Cup, held in Spain, will feature Iceland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Ukraine. The Scots are the only ones to have appeared at last year’s World Cup. Like the Tournoi de France, this is the inaugural edition of the competition.
The Turkish Women's Cup, meanwhile, brings together seven teams: Romania, Hong Kong and Hungary in Group A, and Chile, Kenya, Northern Ireland B and Ghana in Group B. Only Chile took part in France 2019.
It is worth noting that several African and Asian teams are not participating in any friendly tournaments due to their involvement in qualifying campaigns for the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020.