Women's Football

France 2019 stars shine in March invitationals

(FIFA.com)
Megan Rapinoe #15 of the United States celebrates a goal by Christen Press #23 against Japan 
© Getty Images
  • Six international women's tournaments took place between 4-11 March
  • Matches cancelled and others played behind closed doors due to coronavirus
  • USA, France and Germany win their respective competitions

Although the impact of the coronavirus epidemic resulted in some matches being played behind closed doors and others cancelled, tournaments in France and Cyprus as well as the Algarve Cup still took place from 4 to 11 March 2020.

The SheBelieves Cup, Turkish Women's Cup and Pinatar Cup were also played during this period.

FIFA.com brings you a brief summary of these competitions.

SheBelieves Cup

Final standings

  1. USA
  2. Spain
  3. England
  4. Japan

The player

Although Japan failed to spark at the tournament and suffered three defeats, Mana Iwabuchi still distinguished herself by scoring her side’s only two goals, including a truly sublime effort against Spain that saw her lob the goalkeeper from 20 yards with a cushioned volley on the slide.

Did you know?

  • Relegated to the runners-up spot by England in the 2019 edition, USA got their hands on the trophy this year thanks to three victories over England (2-0), Spain (1-0) and Japan (3-1). The title was the country’s third following triumphs in 2016 and 2018.
  • Despite being the lowest-ranked team of the quartet in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, Spain defied the odds to beat Japan (3-1) and England (1-0), only losing to the world champions by the smallest of margins (1-0).
  • Beaten by both USA and Spain, England continue to struggle to find the form that took them to the semi-finals of France 2019. Indeed, since last year’s World Cup, the Lionesses have lost five times in eight games.

Algarve Cup

Final standings

  1. Germany
  2. Italy
  3. Norway
  4. New Zealand
  5. Denmark
  6. Belgium
  7. Sweden
  8. Portugal

The player

New Zealand’s Sarah Gregorius called time on her international career the day after her 100th appearance for the Football Ferns. And she certainly went out in style, helping her side to a brilliant win over Belgium.

Did you know?

  • The scheduled final between Germany and Italy did not take place after the Azzurri players opted to forfeit the game in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Declared the tournament winners, Germany impressed in Portugal by beating the two teams closest to them in the FIFA Ranking, namely Sweden (1-0) and Norway (4-0), all without conceding a single goal.
  • Despite finishing third at the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019™, Sweden struggled at the Algarve Cup. Defeated by Germany (1-0) and then Denmark (2-1), they nonetheless salvaged some pride by beating hosts Portugal in the match for seventh place.

Tournoi de France

Final standings

  1. France
  2. Netherlands
  3. Brazil
  4. Canada

The player

Called off the sub’s bench for France’s opening game against Canada, Valerie Gauvin then made the most of the opportunity handed her by coach Corinne Diacre in the next two fixtures. After scoring the only goal of the game against Brazil, she was on target once more against the Netherlands when she started the French comeback in a 3-3 draw.

Did you know?

  • The Netherlands headed home from France with three draws from their three fixtures. After goalless stalemates against Canada and Brazil, the Oranje came tantalisingly close to beating France only to concede a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time (3-3).
  • Off target against France (1-0) and the Netherlands (0-0), Canada had to wait until the last 15 minutes of their final game to get on the scoresheet. Goals from Diana Matheson and Janine Beckie gave the Canucks a share of the spoils against Brazil, who had raced into a 2-0 lead inside 20 minutes.
  • The tournament witnessed Pia Sundhage overseeing one of her first tournaments as Brazil coach. However, the Swede will have to wait a bit longer for her maiden victory, after her side recorded two draws and one defeat in France.

Cyprus Cup

Final standings

  1. Croatia
  2. Finland
  3. Mexico
  4. Czech Republic
  5. Slovakia

The player

With one win, one draw and one defeat, Finland blew hot and cold during this competition, and the same could also be said for veteran defender Anna Westerlund (125 caps). The unfortunate scorer of an own goal against both Czech Republic and Slovakia, she also contributed to her side’s only victory by netting their third goal against the Slovaks.

Did you know?

  • Despite having the lowest FIFA Ranking of the participating sides, Croatia sprung a couple of surprises, first by holding Mexico (1-1) and then beating Finland (3-2), ranked 26 and 24 places above them respectively.
  • Promising Mexico midfielder Jennifer Munoz won her first ever cap against Slovakia. Entering the fray in the 46th minute, she marked the occasion by scoring just a minute into her senior team debut.
  • Thailand, who had been due to take part in the tournament, withdrew because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Elsewhere

With three wins in three matches, Scotland won the 2020 Pinatar Cup, which also featured Iceland, Ukraine and Northern Ireland.

The respective winners of the two groups at the Turkish Women's Cup, Chile and Hungary, both enjoyed three wins from three in the competition.

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