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USWNT announces match lineup for 5th annual SheBelieves Cup tournament

U.S. Soccer announced the full schedule for the tournament on Monday, including matches against England, Japan and Spain.

Megan Rapinoe celebrates her free kick assist to Allie Long against South Korea on Oct. 3, 2019, in Charlotte, N.C. (Mitchell Northam / Pro Soccer USA)

The U.S. women’s national team will face off against three top international opponents — England, Spain and Japan — in the fifth annual SheBelieves Cup tournament.

The tournament is named for the #SheBelieves campaign, which was launched by U.S. Soccer in the build-up to the 2015 FIFA World Cup. Bringing in top teams from around the world, the tournament will serve as an opportunity for the U.S. national team to tune up before the Olympics.

This year’s SheBelieves Cup will feature England, Japan and Spain from March 5 to 11. The tournament is structured in a round robin format, meaning each team plays all three of its opponents during three doubleheader events. Each match will be held at a different venue — Orlando, Florida; Harrison, N.J.; and Frisco, Texas.

Although the matches are technically friendlies — meaning none of the results will bear implications in FIFA rankings or tourney qualifications — the tournament’s result is often seen as a gauge for the current strength of the U.S. team. When the Americans  finished second to England last year, it sparked a ripple of concern as the U.S. prepared for an eventually victorious run at the World Cup.

The matches will also offer an opportunity for new coach Vlatko Andonovski to work toward finalizing his roster for the Olympics. Following a set of Olympic qualifiers in February, the tournament will offer one of the earliest tests for Andonovski as he takes over the team from two-time World Cup champion coach Jill Ellis.

“U.S. Soccer does such a great job staging this tournament and it’s a world class event for the players and the fans,” Andonovski said. “We look forward to welcoming these really talented teams to the USA and there’s nothing better than facing players who force you to be your best in order to be successful, which is what we’ll get from England, Japan and Spain. There’s some great history between these teams – some very recent history — and I know all six games will be excellent displays to show why the women’s game keeps increasing in popularity and competitiveness.”

The team’s opening match in Orlando will feature two rematches from the 2019 World Cup, as the U.S. will face both Spain and England for the first time since their 2019 World Cup matches in France. The U.S. beat Spain 2-1 in the Round of 16, then went on to defeat England 2-1 in the semifinals in the game marked by striker Alex Morgan’s viral tea-sipping celebration. The Americans last faced off against Japan in last year’s SheBelieves Cup, finishing in a 2-2 draw. 

All three opponents will offer a top-ranked challenge. England is ranked No. 6 in the world, while Japan is close behind at No. 10 and Spain is placed at No. 13. All four teams were World Cup contenders that advanced to at least the Round of 16 during the summer.

All three matches involving the U.S. national team will be broadcast live on an ESPN outlet and in Spanish on TUDN.

Full schedule:

March 5 — Spain vs. Japan at 4:15 p.m., USA vs. England at 7 p.m. ET at Exploria Stadium

March 8 — Japan vs. England at 2:15 p.m., USA vs. Spain at 5 p.m. ET at Red Bull Arena

March 11 — England vs. Spain at 4:15 p.m., USA vs. Japan at 7 p.m. CT at Toyota Stadium

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