Algarve Cup 2013: Power Ranking Biggest Threats for USWNT After Strong Start

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIMarch 10, 2013

DETROIT, MI - DECEMBER 08:  Alex Morgan #13 of Team USA signs autographs for the fans after the game against China at Ford Field on December 8, 2012 in Detroit, Michigan. USA defeated China 2-0.  (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

The United States women's national team came into the 2013 Algarve Cup as one of the favorites for the tournament title and have not disappointed, so far.

Opening with a 3-0 win against Iceland and then picking up a 5-0 win over China PR, the USWNT appear primed for a strong run in the competition. This is especially true, given the fact that they've had eight different goal scorers so far in the tournament without really even flexing any muscle.

Yet it hasn't just been the United States that have started well at the 2013 Algarve Cup and appear primed for strong showings in Portugal. Read on to see the biggest threats for the USWNT from what we've seen so far in the most prestigious women's football tournament this year.

3. Norway

Few would have considered Norway to be a genuine player, come the latter stages of the Algarve Cup, but after two strong showings in their first two matches, they could very well end up challenging the United States in the tournament final.

Norway defeated defending champions Japan 2-0 in their first leg before drawing 0-0 against Denmark in the second. Whoever triumphs out of their clash against Germany in their final group stage match will likely take on the United States in the final.

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Which, if they can beat Germany, will make them a very tough opponent for the USWNT to face in the final of the 2013 Algarve Cup.

2. Sweden

One of the really tough teams in world football, Sweden must be considered a great threat here for they have the opportunity to stop the USWNT from making the final.

If they can win their final group stage match against the Americans, then Sweden will finish top of the group and progress through to the final—not the United States. This, given how they performed against Iceland in their most recent encounter (a 6-1 win) could very well happen again here.

1. Germany

However, the biggest threat for the United States in the 2013 Algarve Cup is Germany, whom they knew would be a genuine challenger in this tournament.

Currently ranked as the second-best team in the world behind the USWNT, Germany are undefeated in the tournament, so far, and scored a key win over Japan in their most recent match to put themselves within a real chance of qualifying for the final.

If they can knock off Norway in their last group stage match, then they'll likely face the USWNT in the final, where absolutely anything can happen—especially when the two best teams in the world do battle.

Who do you think the biggest threats to the USWNT are?

Comment below or hit me up on Twitter:  dantalintyre