Talen Energy Stadium and the Philadelphia Union welcome the United States Women’s National Team, England, France and Germany for the first round of the SheBelieves Cup March 1. The round robin tournament starts in Philadelphia, before making stops in New Jersey and Washington DC. Every team will play each other, with the reigning champs USWNT facing Germany in Philadelphia, England in New Jersey and France in DC. To get ready for the Cup, here are what you need to know about every team.
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The USWNT will open camp on February 20 to get ready for the SheBelieves Cup, and the camp roster was released Wednesday (Hyperlink). Fans may be surprised to see longtime USWNT midfielder Megan Rapinoe left off the roster. Rapinoe suffered tore her ACL at the end of 2015 and didn’t return to the pitch until the quarterfinals of the 2016 Rio Olympics and played just five matches for Seattle Reign FC during the 2016 NWSL season.
The team, however, is ripe with young talent and is especially deep down the middle. USWNT stalwarts such as Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath and Amy Rodriguez bring the experience and leadership to the team. Leadership will be key for the US, as nine of the 23 players invited to camp have 20 or fewer international caps, including all three keepers. With rosters being finalized before the end of camp, these players will have a great opportunity to show head coach Jill Ellis what they can do.
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The Germans come to the US as the reigning Olympic champions. Their first opponent? The reigning World Cup champs, the USWNT. Between the two clubs, the US’s all-time record against Germany is 20-4-7. Germany hasn’t defeated the US since 2003, a semifinal win in the 2003 Women’s World Cup.
Germany enters the tournament as the No. 2 team in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings, trailing only the USWNT. But Silvia Neid is no longer stalking the sideline. Replacing her is Steffi Jones, a former member of the German national squad, who was a part of the 2003 German Women’s World Cup championship team, which defeated the US. The German’s project to bring over an equally youthful team as the US, with 13 players having played in 20 or less games on the current national team. The team is led by forward Anja Mittag, who has 49 goals in 149 caps for the German squad.
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England enters the SheBelieves Cup as the lowest ranked team at No. 5, which is a testament to the quality of competition in the tournament. Against the USWNT, England is 3-8-1, losing the two most recent matches 1-0. England will face off with France before facing the USWNT in New Jersey.
England is led by the Mark Sampson, who is one of the youngest international managers in the game. Sampson became England’s coach in 2013 and has seen success in his first few years, winning the 2015 Cyprus Cup title and winning a bronze medal in the 2015 Women’s World Cup, England’s highest finish ever. England will bring plenty of experience stateside as well, with Karen Carney (110 caps, 25 goals), Fara Williams (150 caps, 40 goals), Jill Scott (102 caps, 15 goals), and Alex Scott (129 caps, 12 goals) leading the front, middle and back lines.
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The fourth and final team in the SheBelieves Cup is France, ranked No. 3 in the FIFA Women’s World Rankings. France will face off with England and Germany before taking on the USWNT in the final game of the round-robin tournament. All-time, France is 1-17-2 against the USWNT, its only win coming in February 2015.
Much like Germany, France brings a fresh face to the sideline. Olivier Echouafni replaced Philippe Bergeroo in September of last year, and has led the French team to a 3-0-2 record in his first five games, one of those draws being against England. France is a veteran-laden lineup, with seven players with more than 100 career caps, and three with more than 150. Eugenie Le Sommer, Gaetane Thiney and Marie-Laure Delie are included in that group, who all have more than 50 goals as well. Despite only one win against the USWNT, France will be a tough out for any team.