The team of Portugal is already in the south of the country, where the competition will take place.
The 26th edition of the Algarve Cup, which starts on Wednesday, will be used by seven of the 12 teams to prepare for this year’s Women’s World Cup, while Portugal aims to qualify for the European Championship of 2021.
Canada, the Netherlands, Sweden, Spain, Norway, China and Scotland are the seven teams qualified for the World Cup, which will have in the Algarve a demanding ‘appetizer’ for the competition scheduled for France between June 7 and July 7.
The main novelty of this edition of the Algarve tournament, which will be played in five stadiums until March 6, is to change the format of the initial phase to four groups of three teams, to the detriment of the three teams of four teams used in recent years.
In 2018, the ‘silver wedding’ of the event organized by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) culminated in a final cancelled due to bad weather, and the trophy was unprecedented in the history of the competition to the two finalists: Holland and Sweden.
Dutch and Swedish, ranked seventh and ninth in the world ranking, respectively, are both back in the Algarve region, with ambitions to put their name again in the gallery of winners.
Sweden are in Group D with Switzerland (18th) and Portugal (32nd), who in 2018 achieved their best performance in the history of the event, finishing third, and now away from the World Cup , already prepares the qualifying phase for the European of 2021, in which will face, from August, Scotland, Finland, Albania and Cyprus.
The Portuguese coach, Francisco Neto, has summoned 23 athletes to the Algarve Cup, highlighting the return of the usual captain Cláudia Neto, elected the best player of the tournament in 2018, and Bruna Costa, the only one without any ‘AA’ internationalization and call after Ana Borges was injured.
The Netherlands, who are currently European champions, are part of Group B, facing Spain (12th), who triumphed in 2017 and did not defend the title last year, and Poland, the group with the worst ranking in the tournament (34. Th).
The bunch of favourites also include Canada, who won the race in 2016 and the highest-scoring team (fifth in the world rankings), with Iceland (22nd) and Scotland (20th) in Group A.
Norway (13th), winner of four of the first five editions of the tournament between 1994 and 1998, was placed in Group C with China (15th) and Denmark (17th).
The Portuguese participation in the Algarve Cup extends to referee Sandra Bastos of the Football Association of Aveiro, who will have English assistants Lisa Rashid and Swedish Julia Magnusson.
The Algarve Cup closes on March 6, with the final and five more qualifying matches in places to be defined after the last round of the group stage.