Football

2021 SheBelieves Cup: All you need to know 

Teams, players to watch, venue and ticket information, and schedule - find out all about the SheBelieves Cup.

By ZK Goh ·

The 2021 SheBelieves Cup, an annual international women's football (soccer) exhibition tournament hosted by the United States, is set to take place in Florida from 18–24 February.

Two invited teams from the top 10 of the world rankings, Brazil and Canada, are set to join the United States women's national team (USWNT); Argentina complete the competition as a late replacement for Japan. All four teams will compete in a round-robin format, with the top team after three games winning the trophy.

The sixth edition of the tournament features three teams that have qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games later in 2021 (with the exception of Argentina), and is the first not to involve a team from Europe.

Here are some of the other key things you should know about this year's SheBelieves Cup.

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Top-ranked USWNT look for fourth title

Hosts United States are the world's top-ranked team, and are in search of their fourth SheBelieves Cup trophy in six tries.

The USWNT are led by co-captains Carli Lloyd, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe, all of whom have been named in the squad.

Lloyd, with 296 caps, would become the third player to win 300 international caps should she reach that milestone during the competition. The other two were Kristine Lilly and Christie Rampone, both of whom also did so for the USWNT.

Rapinoe and Lloyd's return to the side – both were involved in the team's January double-header wins against Colombia – comes after they were left out of the team's November camp.

London 2012 gold medallist Morgan shared on the eve of the tournament that she was 're-energised' on her return to the squad after a spell in England and suffering from Covid-19 on her return to America at the end of 2020.

Only five of the team are based abroad, with Alana Cook (Paris St-Germain) withdrawn by her French team under a FIFA rule that allows clubs to prevent their players from going on international duty if they face quarantine restrictions upon returning.

Defender Abby Dahlkemper, midfielders Rose Lavelle, Samantha Mewis (all Manchester City), and Catarina Macario (Lyon), and striker Christen Press (Manchester United) are all currently due to join up with the team as scheduled, although Macario may also be withdrawn.

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Record-setter Sinclair leads Canada

Joint world number eight side Canada's first appearance in the SheBelieves Cup will be led by captain, the team's most-capped player, and the top goalscorer in all of international football Christine Sinclair.

While the final squad has yet to be announced by Canada Soccer, it seems unthinkable that Sinclair will be left off of the tournament roster.

Olympic bronze medallists Diana Matheson, Erin McLeod, Sophie Schmidt, and Desiree Scott are also likely to be included.

This is due to be Canada's first international commitment since last March's inaugural Tournoi de France tournament, when they drew against Netherlands and Brazil and lost to the hosts.

Jordyn Huitema is the biggest name other than Sinclair who could make the squad, but she plays club football for Paris Saint-Germain and may be made unavailable similar to her American teammate Cook.

While this is the team's first time in the SheBelieves Cup, the team have won two Olympic bronze medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016 and two CONCACAF Women's Championship titles.

Marta joined by experienced Formiga in Brazil team

Six-time FIFA Women's World Player of the Year/The Best Women's Player Marta heads the Brazilian side, but she is not the oldest or most experienced in the team.

That honour goes to the 42-year-old Formiga, who has won 198 caps and scored 29 goals for Brazil.

The PSG midfielder would also be subject to the same restrictions as Huitema and Cook and it remains to be seen if she will join up with the squad.

Cristiane, the sole striker on the team playing domestically in the Brazilian league for Santos, will hope to reach the 100-goal plateau internationally during the tournament; she has scored 96 times in her 147 appearances for the national team.

Nineteen-year-old Ivana Fuso of Manchester United has won her first call-up and would be in line for her debut.

Brazil, the defending Copa América champions, last played in a pair of friendlies against Ecuador at the end of November and start of December; they won both games by a total margin of 14-0.

The team's only other SheBelieves Cup appearance in 2019 ended with three defeats.

Unknowns Argentina hope to make mark

At 31st in the world, Argentina are the outsiders and the least-known entity of the four.

Asian champions Japan were originally due to participate, but withdrew at the end of January citing the Covid-19 situation in Japan.

This is Argentina's first appearance in the SheBelieves Cup; they have previously appeared in three FIFA Women's World Cups including the most recent edition in France two years ago.

Goalkeeper Vanina Correa, who plays in Spain with Espanyol, is the team's captain; the 37-year-old has represented the national team since 2003 and is the only member of the Argentinian team who also played at Beijing 2008 in the country's sole Olympic appearance.

While the team may be underdogs, their presence in Florida sets up a tantalising opening game of the tournament against rivals Brazil.

SheBelieves Cup 2021 venue

This year's tournament will be the first time the entire tournament is held at a single stadium, with previous editions making use of one stadium per matchday for a total of three venues.

The 2021 SheBelieves Cup will be played entirely at the Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida; it is the third time the Exploria Stadium will have hosted SheBelieves Cup matches after 2018 and 2020.

USWNT holds a 2-0-0 record at the stadium in SheBelieves Cup play, beating England 1–0 in 2018 and 2–0 in 2020.

SheBelieves Cup 2021 health protocols

All four teams will be held within a controlled bubble at a host hotel, with all players and staff having to test negative for Covid-19 before travel, before being tested again on arrival.

Teams will not be permitted to train until the results of all tests on arrival are received; players and staff in the bubble will also face tests every two days from arrival.

A limited number of tickets will be sold for the games at the Exploria Stadium, which normally holds around 25,000 people. Spectators will be required to wear face coverings while watching the matches unless eating or drinking.

SheBelieves Cup 2021 schedule

The SheBelieves Cup fixtures will be held as double-headers, with two matches each on 18, 21, and 24 February 2021.

With Japan's withdrawal, the tournament is now set to open with a mouth-watering rivalry match between South American giants Brazil and Argentina.

All times Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5 hours).

18 February 2021, 4 p.m. ET: Brazil vs Argentina

18 February 2021, 7 p.m. ET: USA vs Canada

21 February 2021, 3 p.m. ET: USA vs Brazil

21 February 2021, 6 p.m. ET: Argentina vs Canada

24 February 2021, 4 p.m. ET: Canada vs Brazil

24 February 2021, 7 p.m. ET: USA vs Argentina

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