Algarve Cup 2015: Fixtures, Live Stream Schedule and More

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistMarch 4, 2015

MILTON KEYNES, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 13:  Alex Morgan of the United States (13) celebrates as she scores their first goal during the Women's Friendly International match between England and USA at Stadium mk on February 13, 2015 in Milton Keynes, England.  (Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images)
Tom Dulat/Getty Images

Portugal will once again welcome one of the most illustrious competitions in women's football on Wednesday as the 2015 Algarve Cup makes its way back to the sports calendar.

The biggest teams on the planet are currently making their preparations for the 2015 Women's World Cup, but the Algarve Cup will serve as a delectable warm-up for this summer's contest.

The tournament promises to give some valuable insight into which teams are peaking at the right time ahead of this year's contest in Canada, as well as which sides aren't performing to their potential.

Read on for a breakdown of the Algarve Cup schedule, along with live stream information and preview of which teams will be courting the most attention in Portugal.

2015 Algarve Cup Schedule
DateTimeMatchFixture
Wednesday, March 42:10 p.m. GMT/9:10 a.m. ETGroup CJapan vs. Denmark
Wednesday, March 45:10 p.m. GMT/12:10 p.m. ETGroup CPortugal vs. France
Wednesday, March 43 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ETGroup ABrazil vs. China PR
Wednesday, March 44 p.m. GMT/11 a.m. ETGroup AGermany vs. Sweden
Wednesday, March 43 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ETGroup BSwitzerland vs. Iceland
Wednesday, March 47 p.m. GMT/2 p.m. ETGroup BNorway vs. United States
Friday, March 612:10 p.m. GMT/7:10 a.m. ETGroup CJapan vs. Portugal
Friday, March 63 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ETGroup CFrance vs. Denmark
Friday, March 61 p.m. GMT/8 a.m. ETGroup AGermany vs. China PR
Friday, March 61:30 p.m. GMT/8:30 a.m. ETGroup ASweden vs. Brazil
Friday, March 65 p.m. GMT/12 p.m. ETGroup BUnited States vs. Switzerland
Friday, March 66 p.m. GMT/1 p.m. ETGroup BNorway vs. Iceland
Monday, March 92:10 p.m. GMT/9:10 a.m. ETGroup CJapan vs. France
Monday, March 92:10 p.m. GMT/9:10 a.m. ETGroup CPortugal vs. Denmark
Monday, March 95:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ETGroup ABrazil vs. Germany
Monday, March 95:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ETGroup ASweden vs. Cheina PR
Monday, March 95:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ETGroup BUnited States vs. Iceland
Monday, March 95:30 p.m. GMT/12:30 p.m. ETGroup BNorway vs. Switzerland
Wednesday, March 11TBD11th-Place PlayoffThird best 4th-placed team v Second best 4th-placed team
Wednesday, March 11TBDNinthh-Place PlayoffBest 4th-placed team v Third best 3rd-place team
Wednesday, March 11TBDSeventh-Place PlayoffSecond best 3rd-place team v Best 3rd-place team
Wednesday, March 11TBDFifth-Place PlayoffThird best 2nd-place team vs. Second best 2nd best team
Wednesday, March 11TBDThird-Place PlayoffThird best group winner vs. Best 2nd-placed team
Wednesday, March 11TBDFinalBest Group winner vs. Second best Group winner
WomensSoccerUnited.com

Fox Soccer 2GO will stream each of the United States' group fixtures and any matches the team feature in beyond that stage, available to North American viewers. Audiences in the United Kingdom can stream selected matches via Eurosport Player.

The official Algarve Cup Twitter account provides another look at the competition's match schedule:

Teams to Watch

Germany

Reigning Algarve Cup champions Germany will be hopeful of adding to their streak of three successive appearances in the final of the Portuguese tournament this year.

Silvia Neid's side also make their way to Portugal's southern coast as the reigning champions of Europe after claiming their sixth consecutive continental crown in 2013.

MARBELLA, SPAIN - FEBRUARY 09:  Head coach Silvia Neid talks with goalkeeper Nadine Angerer during a Germany Women's Training Session at Marbella Football Center on February 9, 2015 in Marbella, Spain.  (Photo by Sergio Camacho/Getty Images)
Sergio Camacho/Getty Images

Pressure is a burden Die Nationalelf evidently cope with well, but it inevitably means they enter the tournament with a target on their back.

However, Germany remain a team in high spirits, currently at the top of the FIFA world rankings and boasting the talents of Women's World Player of the Year Nadine Kessler, per ESPN FC:

Neid will have a difficult task in leading Germany past the challenges of Sweden, Brazil and China in their bid to top Group A, but no-one will doubt the team's potential to achieve just that.

United States

No team has won the Algarve Cup on more occasions than the United States, with the USWNT boasting no fewer than nine triumphs in the annual tournament.

DAYTONA BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 22:  (L-R) United States womens national soccer team members Abby Wambach, Christie Rampone and Kelley O’Hara attend the driver meeting during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series 57th Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speed
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Their most recent success came in 2013, but Jill Ellis' squad failed to place among the top four in 2014, breaking an 11-year streak of finishing third or higher, taking at least second in 10 of those competitions.

The U.S. face a somewhat simpler test of their ability in Group B as the threats posed by Norway, Switzerland and Iceland aren't quite as daunting as that which Germany face.

Ellis is also pleased to welcome goalkeeper Hope Solo back into her side after the No. 1 served a 30-day suspension following charges of assault being filed against her. Solo spoke to ABC News last week regarding the controversy:

The state of the United States squad is of extreme intrigue, too, with several ageing players facing questions over their value to the starting lineup, not least of whom is international icon Abby Wambach.

Wambach will be looking to add to her world-record tally of 177 international goals in Portugal, but she is one star likely to be assessed on how much she can offer Ellis ahead of this year's World Cup.

Japan

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 28: Asuna Tanaka #14 of Japan kicks the ball during Women's International Soccer Friendly Series action against Canada on October 28, 2014 at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.  (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images
Rich Lam/Getty Images

If there is a team to watch at the Algarve Cup this year who have not previously won the tournament, world champions Japan would be it.

Having finished as runners-up to Germany in two of the last three competitions, the rising titans of Asia are seeking to go one better in 2015 and have every reason to feel confident in their squad's quality.

VANCOUVER, BC - OCTOBER 28: Norio Sasaki Head Coach of Japan listens to the national anthems at the team bench prior to Women's International Soccer Friendly Series action against Canada on October 28, 2014 at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, British Columb
Rich Lam/Getty Images

Over the past seven years, Norio Sasaki has grown a crop of players capable of contending with the giants of the international scene in unprecedented fashion.

Japan's record speaks for itself, too, having lost just two matches since the beginning of 2014. Led by veterans Shinobu Ohno, Yuki Ogimi and Aya Miyama, they'll go in search of breaking new ground at the Algarve Cup in 2015.

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