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Algarve Cup 2013: Schedule, Format, Players to Watch and More

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Algarve Cup 2013: Schedule, Format, Players to Watch and More
Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Portugal will once again play host to the Algarve Cup beginning March 6. Held every year since 1994, the event showcases some of the top women’s soccer teams in the world, including a U.S. squad that has earned a top finish in the competition eight times.

Twelve teams are invited to the prestigious tournament, but only the top eight squads are eligible to win the event. The remaining four teams compete in their own pool for the bottom four places.

The eight championship challengers are divided into two separate pools in a round-robin format. The United States will be participating in Group B, along with Sweden, Iceland and China.

We’ll provide a more in-depth breakdown of the groups, format, schedule and players to watch for the event.

  Team 1 Team 2 Team 3 Team 4
Group A Germany Denmark Japan Norway
Group B United States Sweden Iceland China
Group C Portugal Mexico Wales Hungary

 

Format

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The first round consists of a round-robin format for each group. The winners of Group A and Group B then face off in the final stage for first place, while the runners-up from both groups challenge for second place. Third-place finishers from the top two groups play for fifth place.

The last-place finishers from the group stage (Group A and Group B) will be faced with a final-round matchup with the winner and runner-up from Group C for the seventh and ninth places in the event.

The final two finishers in Group C have no chance of finishing better than 11th place in the tournament. Those two teams will be presented with a rematch for the final two places.

 

Schedule

*All times EST.

Date Matchup Time
Wednesday, March 6

Japan vs. Norway

Denmark vs. Germany

U.S. vs. Iceland

Sweden vs. China

Hungary vs. Mexico

Portugal vs. Wales

8:10 a.m. 

12:00 p.m.

9:00 a.m.

11:00 a.m.

10:00 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

Friday, March 8

Germany vs. Japan

Norway vs. Denmark

China vs. U.S.

Iceland vs. Sweden

Portugal vs. Hungary

Mexico vs. Wales

7:15 a.m.

11:00 a.m.

9:00 a.m.

1:00 p.m.

10:00 a.m.

1:00 p.m.

Monday, March 11

Denmark vs. Japan

Germany vs. Norway

China vs. Iceland

Sweden vs. U.S.

Wales vs. Hungary

Portugal vs. Mexico

7:20 a.m.

7:20 a.m.

10:00 a.m.

10:00 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

10:30 a.m.

Wednesday, March 13 Final Round (TBD) TBD

*Full schedule can be found at WomensSoccerUnited.com.

 

Players to Watch

Alex Morgan: United States

Michael Chang/Getty Images

Morgan is one of the most recognizable female footballers in the world, and she’ll have a chance to shine on a big stage this week.

The 2012 United States soccer Female Athlete of the Year, Morgan boosted her career to new heights last year by netting 20 goals and posting 20 assists. The 23-year-old striker will be a major force in the tournament this year.

WomensSoccerUnited.com has a panel of 12 prognosticators who each predict the top awards for the tournament, and three of the 12 expect Morgan to be the top goal scorer for the Algarve cup.

 

Fatmire Bajramaj: Germany

Martin Rose/Getty Images

Bajramaj is one of the best young players on a German team that is poised to dominate the competition in this year’s Algarve Cup.

The 24-year-old midfielder is one of the best young talents in women’s soccer, and she’ll have an opportunity to take her play to a new level after being a major contributor for the German team in the 2011 FIFA World Cups.

After finishing third in the 2010 FIFA Ballon d’Or competition, Bajramaj will once again have the opportunity to shine under one of soccer’s brightest lights.

 

Historical Winners

Year Team
2012 Germany
2011 United States
2010 United States
2009 Sweden
2008 United States
2007 United States
2006 Germany
2005 United States
2004 United States
2003 United States
2002 China
2001 Sweden
2000 United States
1999 China
1998 Norway
1997 Norway
1996 Norway
1995 Sweden
1994 Norway

 

Prediction

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Germany and the United States have dominated the Algarve Cup in recent years, and there's little to suggest the two squads won't face off for the championship this year.

Both squads boast some of the top women's soccer talent in the world, including Morgan, Bajramaj, Abby Wambach, Megan Rapinoe, Celia Okoyino da Mbabi and Dzsenifer Marozsan.

With the U.S. and Germany competing in opposite groups, a first-place finish in the opening stage will ensure a premier matchup between the two clubs with a championship on the line.

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