While significant attention will be given to the Algarve Cup in Portugal – set to kick-off this week – the Cyprus Cup begins on Wednesday and features five teams competing in the Women’s World Cup this summer.
Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, England and France will all use the Cyprus Cup as a tune-up for Germany. In total, 12 teams will compete in the Cyprus Cup. Each of the three groups will consist of four teams, which will play each group opponent once. Each team will play a final game on March 9, with seeding determined based on group finishes (the same format as the Algarve Cup).
Here is how the groups breakdown (with FIFA World Rankings in parentheses):
Group A: Canada (9), England (10), Italy (11), Scotland (24)
Group B: France (8), Netherlands (15), New Zealand (23), Switzerland (26)
Group C: Mexico (22), Northern Ireland (64), Russia (20), South Korea (18)
Clearly, Group A features a heavyweight battle between Canada, England and Italy, with Scotland expected to be on the outside looking in. Canada and England face-off on March 7, the final day of group play. Italy should prove to be a tough test as well. The Italians were the final team eliminated from the final 16 of the Women’s World Cup, losing a two-leg playoff to the United States.
France should be tested by all three opponents in Group B and Group C could be a dog-fight with three teams on fairly similar levels in Mexico, Russia and South Korea. Northern Ireland will, at the very least, gain vast experience from the tournament. Although Mexico is the only Women’s World Cup team in the group, South Korea should be favored after winning the Peace Queen Cup in October. South Korea, the hosts of that event, defeated Australia 2-1 in the final.
Group play of the Cyprus Cup will take place on March 2, Mach 4 and March 7. The finals will be on March 9. For a full schedule, click here.
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