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International Cups - Women's Football

This February, several international women’s football teams are playing against each other in different cups.

The most popular one is the Arnold Clark Cup, hosted by England. The teams participating are Germany, Spain, Canada and England. These are four of the ten strongest teams in the world - Canada is reigning Olympic champion.

Four matches have been played already. Germany vs. Spain ended 1-1 with goals by Schüller (88’) and Putellas (46’); the latter having been awarded Best FIFA Women’s player and Ballon d’Or Feminin and more in 2021. England vs. Canada ended in a 1-1 draw, with both sides being disappointed with their performance: Lionesses manager Sarina Wiegman stated her team missed obvious chances. Chelsea defender Millie Bright scored a volley in the 22nd minute for the Lionesses; Janine Beckie equalised in the 55th with another stunning goal. The following game, England vs. Spain also ended in a draw, with no goals having been scored. The Lionesses came close again with Arsenal’s Jordan Nobbs, Man City players Lauren Hemp and Ellen White. Goalkeeper Hannah Hampton played her debut for the Lionesses and was called player of the match by many fans and teammates – she had some great saves and therefore made a draw possible. Finally, Canada has beaten Germany with an early goal by Gilles. Germany was dominating in possession (62%) and shots (17-3), but the early goal has proven to be decisive. There are still two matches to be played on the 23rd of February. As it stands, this is the table:

Another mini international tournament is the Algarve Cup. The participants are Olympic vice champions Sweden, Italy, Portugal and Norway. Denmark had to pull out after their first match following a Covid outbreak. Therefore, all the next matches against Denmark will automatically end 3-0 for the opposing team.

Italy won the game against the still-participating Danish team with one goal by Barbara Bonansea (50’). The match between Norway and Portugal ended 0-2 with a goal having been scored by Pinto and a late one by Mendes (90+4’). Sweden has already “played” their default game against Denmark. Italy has scooped up a win against Norway too, with two goals in the first half. They conceded one by Ildhusoy (45+3’), but Norway could not equalise in the second half. The biggest win so far was Portugal vs. Sweden. The latter scored four goals in the matter of 20 minutes. Bayern defender Hanna Glas started this chain reaction with a goal in the 56th minute. Ilestedt and Asllani made it three and Arsenal forward Stina Blackstenius put the cherry on top with the fourth goal. The Swedish fans were nervous about this game, since Portugal has a strong offensive line and Sweden had to play without their most important defender, Chelsea player Magdalena Eriksson. But the Portuguese side could not come past Sweden’s defence and never even have a shot on target. As it stands, this is the table (reminder: Denmark pulled out after their first game, resulting in Sweden’s 3-0 default win):

The SheBelieves Cup is played between Iceland, World Champions United States, Czech Republic and New Zealand.

West Ham player Dagný Brynjarsdóttir scored the only goal in the match for Iceland against New Zealand – in the first minute! Both teams only had five shots on target combined – Iceland was therefore very lucky to have scored the early one. The same day, surprisingly, the US drew against the Czech Republic. Some people believe Tobin Heath, who plays for Arsenal, would have made a big difference in that game with her quick decision making and skills – she is not participating in the tournament due to an injury. But, the US brought their winning ways back after a 5-0 win against New Zealand. Three goals were own goals and the second two were scored by Ashley Hatch and Mallory Pugh. The USWNT’s fanbase is being criticised (again) by many other fans after mocking NZ’s Moore for scoring 3 own goals. Iceland beat the Czech Republic 2-1 with two early goals by Anasi and Magnusdottir. Khyrova was able to reduce the goal difference by scoring a late goal, but it was not enough to equalise. So far, this is the table:

Last but not least, the remaining four teams are playing the Tournoi de France. The participants are France, Netherlands, Brazil and Finland. The Netherlands are European champions and World vice champions. Both Brazil and France are also seen as extremely strong teams, possibly even stronger than the Netherlands.

A highly anticipated game between two of the most famous women’s teams was Brazil vs Netherlands. This game ended in a draw, one goal each. The Netherlands started off with a stunning goal by Lineth Beerensteyn, a Bayern Munich player. Marta, often called the greatest women’s footballer of all times, scored a late penalty to equalise. Netherland’s Merel van Dongen received a red card (90+3’) after collecting two yellow ones. Meanwhile, France won against Finland with five goals to zero. Two of these goals were scored by Wendie Renard, who plays for OL Lyon and holds several UEFA Women’s Champions League records. The game between France and Brazil ended 2-1. Marta scored the single goal for Brazil through another penalty. Marie-Antoinette Katoto, who plays for PSG, scored both goals for France securing the win. Current standings:

The winner of each cup will be determined on Wednesday the latest. I personally believe the current two winners of Arnold Clark and Algarve will stay the same. The US might have a chance and could beat Iceland and top the table. Same with the Netherlands – I would not be utterly surprised if they beat France, but we will see tomorrow.

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