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U.S. Women's National Team Schedule Set for 2004 Algarve Cup


CHICAGO (Tuesday, February 24, 2004) – The U.S. Women's National Team will have a short turnaround for the 11th Algarve Cup as the team will depart for Europe four days after returning from Costa Rica and the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Tournament.  U.S. head coach April Heinrichs will name a 20-player roster for the Algarve Cup after Olympic qualifying is completed and those players will leave for the southern coast of Portugal on March 10.

The USA has been placed in Group A and will face France on March 14, Denmark on March 16 and 2003 Women’s World Cup runner-up Sweden on March 18.  The placement matches will be contested on March 20.  Group B features Norway, Finland, Canada and China.  Group C, which consists of four European lower tier teams, features host Portugal, Wales, Greece and Northern Ireland.  The competition will run from March 14-20 with four match days, featuring six matches each day.  Venues and match times have not yet been confirmed, but all the games will be played at small venues spread out across the Algarve region.

This marks the ninth trip to the Algarve Cup for the U.S. women, who won the world’s most prestigious invitational women’s tournament last year, defeating China 2-0 in the title game. The Algarve Cup was one of the few missing trophies in a very crowded case as the U.S. women went four straight tournaments without an Algarve title before winning in 2000 behind a Brandi Chastain penalty kick for a 1-0 victory over Norway. The USA has an 18-8-5 all-time record in the Algarve Cup, which is perhaps the world’s most competitive women’s international event outside of the Women's World Cup, the Olympics and the European Championship.

None of the matches will be televised in the United States, but fans can follow the USA’s grueling schedule of four games in seven days online at ussoccer.com's MatchTracker, presented by Philips Electronics.

Since the expansion from eight to 12 teams three years ago, the Algarve Cup format has been as follows.  The teams in Group A and B will compete for the title as the group winners will play in the championship game on Saturday, March 20.  The two second-place group finishers in Groups A and B will play for third place, while the third-place finishers will play for fifth place.   The Group C teams will be competing for a chance to play for spots 7-12 as the winner of Group C will play the fourth place team in Group A, the second place team in Group C will play the fourth place team in Group B, and the third and fourth place finishers in Group C will play each other again.

The USA has not faced Denmark since a hard-fought 3-2 win in the fifth-place match of the 2002 Algarve Cup as Shannon MacMillan registered the only hat trick in U.S. Women’s National Team history that came in a one-goal win.  The USA has played France eight times, but it has been almost seven years since the last meeting against the French, who qualified for their first Women’s World Cup in 2003.  The USA is developing quite a rivalry with Sweden, meeting in the opening match of the 2003 Women’s World Cup as well as the last five Algarve Cups.  The two teams also met on Jan. 30 at the Four Nations Tournament in China, a 3-0 U.S. win. 

Following is the complete Algarve Cup schedule:

Group A
Denmark
France
Sweden
USA

Group B
Canada
China
Finland
Norway

Group C

Greece
Northern Ireland
Portugal
Wales

Sunday, March 14
USA vs. France
Denmark vs. Sweden
Norway vs. Finland
Canada vs. China
Portugal vs. Wales
Greece vs. Northern Ireland

Tuesday, March 16

Denmark vs. USA
Sweden vs. France
Norway vs. Canada
Finland vs. China
Portugal vs. Greece
Wales vs. Northern Ireland

Thursday, March 18

Sweden vs. USA
Denmark vs. France
Norway vs. China
Finland vs. Canada
Portugal vs. Northern Ireland
Wales vs. Greece

Saturday, March 20
Placement Matches

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