Algarve Cup 2014: Analysing Final Results and Scores for Women's Soccer

Dan Brett@@DanBrett90Contributor IIIMarch 12, 2014

Germany's players pose for the media with their trophy after winning the women's soccer Algarve Cup at the Algarve stadium, outside Faro, southern Portugal, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Germany defeated Japan 3-0. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Francisco Seco/Associated Press

Germany clinched their second Algarve Cup win in three years after overcoming Japan in a 3-0 win in Faro.

Silvia Neid's side had conquered throughout the tournament, with victory over Norio Sasaki's outfit maintaining their unbeaten run.

It wasn't such a good tournament for the United States, though, who went into the event as holders as they looked to defend their crown.

A seventh-place finish was all that the US Women's National Team could muster in Portugal, but positives remained as the side showed five different scorers, with a mixture of old guard and fresh faces gaining vital experience for next year's contest.

Algarve Cup 2014: Final standings
RankTeamPlay-Off Result
1stGermanyGermany 3-0 Japan
3rdIcelandIceland 2-1 Sweden
5thChina PRChina 1-1 Denmark
7thUnited StatesNorth Korea 0-3 United States
8thNorth Korea
9thRussiaRussia 1-0 Norway
11thAustriaAustria 2-1 Portugal

Two goals from Abby Wambach helped secure a 3-0 win over North Korea and seal a seventh-place finish for the USWMNT in the Algarve Cup.

North Korea impressed during the tournament, scoring six goals and conceding just one strike as they outclassed Russia, Austria and host nation Portugal in Group C.

However, the States tore up the script as Wambach's 11th-minute strike opened the scoring before she added her second of the game on 58 minutes; Heather O'Reilly secured victory later on at Stadium Bela Vista in Parchal.

Sports Illustrated's tweet told of how O'Reilly capped her milestone appearance with a goal:

This was soon followed by admiration from within the camp, as Wambach tweeted of her own joy at seeing her team-mate show her longevity within the national setup:

It proved to be a missed tournament opportunity for the States. After winning last year's final over Germany, the side went into this year's competition chasing their 10th Algarve Cup win, but it wasn't to be after a torrid group stage left the US settling for seventh spot, leaving Germany to compete for the title.

The tournament winners had an emphatic group stage as they won all three ties against Iceland, China and Norway to bag nine points—scoring nine goals and conceding just one solitary strike as they finished at the summit of Group A.

Japan had found their own rhythm in the tournament, too, winning two and drawing one in Group B to ensure their place alongside Germany in the final, taking place at the Estadio Algarve in Faro.

After a goalless first half, strikes from Nadine Kessler, Anja Mittag and Dzsenifer Marozsan secured a 3-0 win for Germany to lift the 2014 title, with the country bagging their second tournament win in three years.

Francisco Seco/Associated Press

Meanwhile, the chance of a bronze medal was on offer to both Iceland and Sweden as their third-place play-off got underway. A frantic first half proved to be to Iceland's benefit with Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir scoring the opener after 28 minutes—Harpa Thorsteinsdottir doubled her side's advantage on the half-hour mark.

There wasn't enough fuel in the tank for Sweden to overturn the two-goal deficit, despite Antonia Goransson's last-minute strike, and Iceland finished third with Sweden settling for a fourth-placed tournament finish.

It took penalties to separate China and Denmark in their fifth-place play-off match after the sides shared a 1-1 draw.

A sixth-minute strike from China's Lei Jiahui gave her side the lead, with Denmark unable to respond with a strike of their own until the 87th minute when the Danes were awarded a penalty, which was duly dispatched by Sanne Troelsgaard Nielsen.

The penalty shootout soon got underway in Albufeira, with China bagging a 6-5 victory from the spot at Estadio Municipal.

Francisco Seco/Associated Press

The battle for ninth place got underway as Russia, with just one win in the group stage, took on a Norway side that had scored just two goals in the tournament.

Ekaterina Sochneva gave Russia the lead with just two minutes left in Parchal, as Norway failed to muster their third strike of the competition. That was Sochneva's first goal of the tournament and ensured her side's play-off win.

Signs of finishing the tournament on bottom spot looked nailed on against Austria, with Nadine Prohaska giving her side the lead after just three minutes. Double pain set in for the host nation with just 27 minutes played when Sarah Zadrazil netted to put her side into the ascendancy.

Jessica Silva managed to pull one back for Portugal with 20 minutes to go—her second of the tournament. However, it wasn't enough as Austria clung on to seal their 2-1 victory and leave their opponents to prop up the rest of the table.

Bleacher Report's John Halloran tweeted of his delight at Carli Lloyd's contribution to the USWNT team:

Lloyd's contribution throughout the tournament highlighted the strength across the board for the States, despite a disappointing group finish.

Going forward, the future certainly looks bright for the women's team, with experienced heads such as Lloyd adding to the presence and input of O'Reilly and Wambach helping to nurture future stars.

The tournament would have also opened coach Tom Sermanni's eyes as to the problem areas that need addressing while giving some of the squad's younger players a chance to find their feet.

The CONCACAF is due to get underway in October, with the States looking to travel to Mexico and provide more excitement than they did this time around.

But with O'Reilly hitting 200 caps at just 29 years of age, there's certainly a good number of tournaments in her yet, which can only be positive for not only the national side but women's football in general.


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