USA retain crown as trio hone for Tokyo

USA celebrate winning the SheBelieves Cup in Orlando, Florida

  • USA retained SheBelieves Cup with a perfect record
  • Several new players given an opportunity during six-day tournament
  • USA, along with Brazil and Canada, are preparing for Tokyo Olympics

For the fourth time in six iterations of the SheBelieves Cup, USA ended at the summit of the four-nation tournament on Wednesday. And for the third time, the annual hosts did so with a perfect record.

Not that the world champions had it all their own way being pushed hard in matches against second-placed Brazil, and especially Canada, as all three build for July’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020. Argentina – who replaced Japan a month ago in the Orlando-based tournament – had a tougher time, but they will have greatly benefitted from the chance to tackle three top-ten opponents.

2021 SheBelieves Cup results

Brazil 4-1 Argentina
USA 1-0 Canada
USA 2-0 Brazil
Argentina 0-1 Canada
Canada 0-2 Brazil
USA 6-0 Argentina

Rose continues to bloom

Rose Lavelle, one of the breakout stars of the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™, continued her growth into a world class midfielder. Lavelle finished ahead of team-mate Christen Press, and Brazil pair Adriana and Debinha, to be named the tournament’s best player.

Young guns loaded

Lesser-known names were a feature across all four squads, including that of the world champs, who fielded five players with five caps of less. Among the notable calls-ups was 2018 FIFA U-20 World Cup star Sophie Smith. Despite the cavalcade of fresh faces across the tournament, it was veteran Megan Rapinoe who finished top-scorer with three goals.

Canucks’ new chapter

Canada coach Bev Priestman finally made her debut in the role nearly six months after being appointed. It was a challenging start with numerous key players – including the world’s greatest international goalscorer Christine Sinclair – unavailable for various reasons. One newer name certainly made an impression though as 21-year-old midfielder Sarah Stratigakis chose the perfect time for a debut goal with her injury-time winner against Argentina.

Pia’s Brazil starting to sing

Appointed in 2019, highly respected Brazil coach Pia Sundhage seems to be settling As Canarinhas back into their old rhythm after a few unsettled years. Wins over Argentina and Canada were sandwiched either side of defeat against USA, with the Stars and Stripes needing goals at either end of the contest to eventually outlast the South Americans.

Rewarding heroes

U.S. Soccer made 600 tickets available for local frontline health workers to attend the final round of matches as a show of appreciation for their important work over the past year. The federation also recognised health care and frontline workers with a special moment in the stadium during the game.

Baby talk

Suddenly babies were part of the conversation in the Stars and Stripes’ ranks. Alex Morgan scored her 108th goal for USA, but her first as a mother following her recent return to the pitch. Meanwhile, Orlando locals and squad regulars Ashlyn Harris and Ali Krieger missed their first tournament since recently becoming parents together.

Chasing Tokyo glory

Tokyo will be an opportunity for USA to put aside their disappointment from the 2016 Olympics when the four-time gold medallists were eliminated in the quarter finals. Canada has won bronze in each of the past two tournaments – edging two-time silver medallists Brazil in the most recent edition.

SheBelieves Cup – Matchday 1

Rose Lavelle #16 of USA heads the ball against Desiree Scott #11 of Canada during the 2021 SheBelieves Cup

Rose Lavelle #16 of USA celebrates with Christen Press #23 after scoring a goal against Canada during the 2021 SheBelieves Cup 

Alex Morgan #13 of USA warms up during the 2021 SheBelieves Cup match against Canada in Orlando

Nichelle Prince #15 of Canada attempts to steal the ball against Margaret Purce #20 of USA during the 2021 SheBelieves 

Becky Sauerbrunn #4 of USA blocks a shot attempt by Deanne Rose #6 of Canada during the 2021 SheBelieves Cup

Adriana #14 of Brazil celebrates her goal against Romina Nunez

Adriana #14 of Brazil shoots the ball against Romina Nunez #18 of Argentina 

2021 SheBelieves Cup – Brazil v Argentina

Brazil players stand for their national anthem prior to the match against Argentina during the SheBelieves Cup at Exploria Stadium

Marta #10 of Brazil escapes from Clarisa Huber #8 of Argentina during the SheBelieves Cup at Exploria Stadium

Read More