Algarve Cup 2014: Daily Results, Updated Group Standings and Schedule
The top women's national teams in the world have an eye toward the 2015 World Cup, but they must first compete for a title in the prestigious 2014 Algarve Cup.
This year's event will once again take place in Portugal and will feature 12 squads battling in a round-robin tournament. However, only the top eight-ranked teams (included in Groups A and B) have a chance to come away as winners.
The United States has been the dominant force at this tournament over the years, winning eight of the last 11 titles, including in 2013 with a finals win over Germany. The Germans now return to avenge this loss and bring back the trophy after winning in 2012.
Additionally, 2011 World Cup winners Japan should remain a top contender for the cup, as well as Sweden, Norway and other talented teams.
Team USA head coach Tom Sermanni explained how tough the competition will be, via USSoccer.com:
The group we’re in at the Algarve Cup will probably be the most significant test since I’ve come aboard and a different kind of challenge as we will be playing teams that have the belief and aim to come out to attack us and beat us. The dynamics of these games will be different than some of the more recent matches, and that’s something that we want, that we need and that the players are looking forward to.
This will obviously create a competitive atmosphere. The only question is which squad will be able to handle the pressure and come away with a title.
Follow this tracker for the latest results and recaps of each day of action throughout the 2014 Algarve Cup.
Here is an updated look at the standings, courtesy of the tournament's official site. Teams in Group C do not have a chance to play for the championship due to a lower ranking entering the tournament.
|Group||Match||Time (local)||Time (ET)|
|A||Germany vs. Iceland||3 p.m.||10 a.m.|
|A||Norway vs. China||3 p.m.||10 a.m.|
|B||United States vs. Japan||12:45 p.m.||7:45 a.m.|
|B||Sweden vs. Denmark||6 p.m.||1 p.m.|
|C||Russia vs. North Korea||3 p.m.||10 a.m.|
|C||Portugal vs. Austria||3:30 p.m.||10:30 a.m.|
|A||Norway vs. Iceland||2 p.m.||9 a.m.|
|A||Germany vs. China||4:10 p.m.||11:10 a.m.|
|B||Sweden vs. United States||1:30 p.m.||8:30 a.m.|
|B||Japan vs. Denmark||2:10 p.m.||9:10 a.m.|
|C||Portugal vs. Russia||5 p.m.||12 p.m.|
|C||Austria vs. North Korea||5 p.m.||12 p.m.|
|A||Germany vs. Norway||5:30 p.m.||12:30 p.m.|
|A||China vs. Iceland||5:30 p.m.||12:30 p.m.|
|B||United States vs. Denmark||2:40 p.m.||9:40 a.m.|
|B||Japan vs. Sweden||2:40 p.m.||9:40 a.m.|
|C||Austria vs. Russia||5:30 p.m.||12:30 p.m.|
|C||Portugal vs. North Korea||5:30 p.m.||12:30 p.m.|
|Final||A1 vs. B1|
|3rd Place||A2 vs. B2|
|5th Place||C1 vs. Best of A3/B3|
|7th Place||C2 vs. Worst of A3/B3|
|9th Place||C3 vs. Best of A4/B4|
|11th Place||C4 vs. Worst of A4/B4|
Day 4 (March 12)
|5/6||China||1-1 (6-5 penalties)||Denmark|
Germany took home its second Algarve Cup title in three years thanks to a 3-0 win over Japan. The score was tied at halftime and seemed to continue that way until Nadine Kessler finally broke through with the first goal of the match for Germany.
Four minutes later, Anja Mittag doubled the lead with a score of her own, making it 2-0 in favor of Germany in the 50th minute.
Dzsenifer Marozsan then sealed the contest in the 62nd minute with the team's third goal. This is the second finals victory for Germany over Japan in the Algarve Cup after the squad also won in 2012. With the 2015 World Cup right around the corner, they have to feel quite confident.
Coming in third place at this event was Iceland, which lost 5-0 in its first match of the tournament before winning three in a row to earn the respectable finish. The squad had a 2-0 lead at halftime and were able to hold on for the victory.
The United States finished off their disappointing run with a seventh-place finish. The defending champs had a winless run in the group stage, but finally got a victory over North Korea in the placement game thanks to two Abby Wambach goals.
China and Denmark had the closest battle of the day as 90 minutes were not enough to settle things. Denmark tied the match with a goal in the 88th minute, but China found a way to win in penalty kicks.
Portugal finished in last place as the hosts could not capitalize on their opening win on March 3.
Day 3 (March 10)
An abysmal showing for the United States in this year's Algarve Cup continued with a 5-3 loss against Denmark. The Americans closed out play in Group B with an 0-1-2 record and negative-three goal differential. worst in the group.
The U.S. club was never on the same page in this event. When the goaltending and defense were sharp, the offense was asleep at the wheel. Today was easily their best showing of the event, but they had no answer for a Denmark team stormed out to a 3-0 lead in the first 38 minutes.
In the other matchup from Group B, Japan knocked off Sweden 2-1 to capture the top spot in the group. Aya Miyama scored the go-ahead goal in the 89th minute on a penalty kick. Japan will take on Germany in the finals on March 12.
In Group A, Germany completed a perfect round of action by defeating Norway 3-1. Iceland got its second win of the event and secured the second spot in the group.
North Korea steamrolled its way through Group C with another dominant performance, this time blanking Portugal 2-0. The Korean team outscored the other three teams in the group by a combined score of 6-1.
Day 2 (March 7)
Sweden pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament so far, defeating the United States with a narrow 1-0 victory. This loss ended an incredible 43-match unbeaten streak for Team USA dating back to the 2012 Algarve Cup.
Abby Wambach had a chance to put the Americans on the scoresheet early, but her penalty shot was denied by Hedvig Lindahl. Star forward Lotta Schelin was then able to give Sweden the lead with a first-half goal to make it 1-0.
As the Associated Press noted, "The U.S. dominated at the Municipal Stadium but, just as in the 1-1 draw against Japan, could not make that quality count."
Sweden will now face Japan for the right to go to the finals, with the United States just trying to save face after being eliminated from trophy contention.
The winner of Group B will face Germany, which already clinched a spot in the finals thanks to a close win over China. A score in the 84th minute by Anja Mittag gave the Germans a victory, while Iceland's 2-1 win over Norway helped secure first place in Group A.
Germany defeated Iceland 5-0 in their first match of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Portugal could not keep up their momentum as the hosts fell to Russia in their second game. North Korea instead took a commanding lead of Group C and will hope to be competing for a spot in the fifth-place game.
Day 1 (March 3)
The biggest match entering the day was between Japan and the United States, and it did not disappoint.
These two squads competed in the finals of both the 2011 World Cup and the 2012 Summer Olympics, with each side coming away with a win. Unfortunately, the opening match at the Algarve Cup did not provide any closure.
After a scoreless first half, Sydney Leroux finally got the Americans onto the scoresheet with a goal in the 53rd minute. However, they could not hold onto the lead as Aya Miyama earned the equalizer in the 83rd minute.
Going forward, these squads will need to worry about goal differential to secure the top spot in the group and a spot in the finals. Still, forward Christen Press was encouraged after the match, via USSoccer.com:
Going out there and being able to play a game like this against one of the world’s best team means a lot of our team. It’s good for our confidence. Sweden will be a totally different opponent, but if we can come and impose our style every game against every opponent, that will help us a lot going into the World Cup qualifiers (at the end of this year).
Sweden certainly remain a tough challenge in the group after defeating Denmark 2-0. The squad got two goals in the first 20 minutes and simply coasted to a victory from there.
Meanwhile, China pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the day as they were able to defeat Norway thanks to a great defensive effort. This automatically makes Germany the favorite to win Group A after a 5-0 victory over Iceland.
In Group C, the hosts were able to get a victory over Austria while North Korea shocked Russia with a game-winning goal in the 92nd minute. While these teams are unable to leave with a title, it could be a great chance to gain momentum heading into the World Cup in 2015.