The 2019 Women’s World Cup brought the skill and talent of women’s football into sharp focus across the Stade de Lyon and Parc des Princes swathes of grass.
From the individual brilliance of Vivianne Miedema and Alex Morgan to team performances akin to that of hosts France before their untimely and premature exit, there was not a single fan, writer or player who was unimpressed by the action and drama.
12 months on and while the thrill may have somewhat diminished, remnants of an enticing tournament remain, both in domestic action – through Women’s Super League, National Women’s Soccer League, the W-League – and via the latest women’s international meeting: the SheBelieves Cup.
Indeed, the tournament provides the hosts – United States – with an opportunity to once again lock horns with England in a repeat of last year’s World Cup semi-final that saw the Lionesses miss out on a first-ever final by 12 yards or so, with the other spots being taken up by Spain and Japan.
So, we’ve detailed all the information as the competition nears and predictions hot up, from fixtures and dates to winner forecasts and more. Without further ado…
What is the SheBelieves Cup?
The SheBelieves Cup is an invitational friendly tournament that is hosted by the United States in the first international break of the year. Brought into inception in 2016, the Cup was created by the US Women’s National Team in the aftermath of the 2015 Women’s World Cup as a follow-up competition.
Outside of the World Cup, this competition is hailed as the showcase event that advertises the best of women’s football on one of the biggest stages in the world.
As such the tournament is taken seriously by all those contending, and this year is no different from the likes of Phil Neville’s Lionesses, former champions Japan and the reigning world champions taking part.
SheBelieves Cup format
As with every year, this particular campaign follows a similar round-robin format with the four teams all playing each other once before total points, games won and goals scored come into play to ensure that one team finishes top of the group and becomes the winner of the SheBelieves Cup.
In line with most round-robin formats, the first tiebreaker is goal difference, followed by goals scored, then head-to-head results, and lastly, fair play rankings.
Where is the SheBelieves Cup being held?
The Red Bull Arena stages this year’s action, having hosted games in both the 2017 and 2018 edition of the tournament, with a near full-capacity crowd of 25,000.
In addition to the home of the MLS team New York Red Bulls being used, the Exploria Stadium in Orlando will also feature. For England fans and players, this particular ground holds precedence given that it was at the Exploria two years ago where the hosts beat the Lionesses in a scrappy 1-0 victory to win the tournament.
The third venue is the Toyota Stadium, which is where England will face Spain and the US will take on Japan.
SheBelieves Cup Fixtures and Dates
|Date||Match||Time (US ET/UK)||Location|
|March 5th||Spain vs Japan||4:15pm / 9:15pm||Orlando, Florida|
|March 5th||USWNT vs England||7pm / 12pm||Orlando, Florida|
|March 8th||Japan vs England||2:15pm / 6:15pm||Harrison, New Jersey|
|March 8th||USWNT vs Spain||5pm / 9pm||Harrison, New Jersey|
|March 11th||England vs Spain||2:15pm / 7:15pm||Frisco, Texas|
|March 11th||USWNT vs Japan||7pm / 11pm||Frisco, Texas|
Previous SheBelieves Cup winners
The USWNT has won the tournament twice – in both its inaugural edition in 2016 and again in 2018, one year after they were usurped by the French. Yet, England are the team acting as defending champions this year, having finished two points better off than the hosts last year.
An opening 2-1 victory over a Marta-led Brazil was followed up by an entertaining 2-2 draw against the US in Nashville, with a finale like no other in store for the Lionesses in the form of an emphatic 3-0 win over Japan.
SheBelieves Cup 2020 winner predictions
With the World Cup permutations long gone, the WSL, NWSL, Primera Liga and Nadeshiko League are where all eyes will focused, with domestic form now the decisive factor.
Fortunately for the Lionesses and England fans alike, the WSL seems to be the pick of the bunch, with some of the NWSL contingent failing to deliver on the big stage of late.
Meanwhile, a resurgent Beth England and Mead continue to inspire week in and out.
Yet if this Lionesses team has taught us anything over the last 12 months or so, it’s that individual brilliance aren’t always markers of great teams, which became evident throughout England’s performances in the latter stages of their latest World Cup campaign.
While they have a better chance of retaining the SheBelieves Cup ahead of the hosts, Japan and Spain, it will take an inspired group-display to thwart the US in their own back yard.