The United States and Canada will each embark on their annual spring tournaments Wednesday. The U.S. women are in Portugal where they have ruled the Algarve Cup, winning nine of the first 20 competitions with four additional runner-ups (they missed the event twice.) The U.S. enter the 2014 Algarve Cup as holders having defeated Germany in last year’s final.
The opening match is against world champions Japan on Wednesday at 7:45 a.m. EST. It will be two years to the day since the U.S. last loss—to Japan in the opening match of the 2012 Algarve Cup. Group B play continues with the United States facing Sweden on Friday and Denmark on Monday. The group winner will advance to the championship match and any other group finish will land the U.S. in an inferior placement match.
[MORE: U.S. Algarve Cup roster]
There are a dozen squads lined up for the Algarve but only eight can win. The Group B winner will face the winner of Group A—Iceland, China, Norway, and Germany—for the title. The four teams in Group C—Portugal, Austria, Russia, North Korea—are playing for the right to play for 5th place plus hopes for a top eight spot in 2015.
Canada has enjoyed similar success in the Cyprus Cup having played in all five finals, winning three. The Canadians open this year’s event against Finland with kickoff scheduled for just 15 minutes prior to the U.S. match in Portugal (7:30 a.m. EST.) Canada will play Italy on Friday and England on Monday. England knocked off Canada 1-0 in last year’s final.
The Cyprus Cup format is the same as the Algarve. Group B sides Netherlands, France, Scotland, and Colombia will be bidding for a spot in the final. Group C countries playing for 5th place are South Korea, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Ireland.
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