After a pair of 2-2 draws, vs. Japan on Feb. 27 and England on March 2, the U.S. WNT will need some help to win the 2019 SheBelieves Cup. The USA has two points from the two draws and sits third in the standings behind first-place Japan and second-place England. Up next is a matchup vs. Brazil on March 5 (8 p.m. ET; FS1) at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa. Here are five things to know about Brazil.
Brazil Women’s National Team Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): 12-Aline Reis (UDG Tenerife, ESP), 1-Leticia (Corinthians), 22-Luciana (Ferroviária S.A)
DEFENDERS (9): 4-Erika (Corinthians), 3-Jucinara (Valência, ESP), 14-Kathellen (FC Girondins, FRA), 2-Leticia S. (Sportclub Sand, GER), 8-Formiga (Paris Saint-Germain, FRA), 21-Mônica (Unattached), 15-Poliana (São José Esporte), 6-Tamires (Fortuna Hjorring, DEN), 13-Tayla (Benfica, POR)
MIDFIELDERS (4): 7-Andressa (FC Barcelona, ESP), 23-Luana (KSPO Women Football Team, KOR), 10-Marta (Orlando Pride, USA), 5-Thaisa (AC Milan, ITA)
FORWARDS (7): 11-Adriana (Corinthians), 16-Beatriz (Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels, KOR), 9-Debinha (NC Courage, USA), 18-Geyse (Benfica, POR), 17-Juliana (CR Flamengo), 19-Ludmila (Atletico de Madrid, ESP), 20-Raquel (Sporting Club Huelva, ESP)
2018 Copa America Champions, Bound for France 2019
Brazil qualified for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup – one of the seven nations that have qualified for every Women's World Cup – by winning the 2018 Copa America Femenina in Chile. The title was Brazil’s seventh, making it by far the most successful women’s soccer nation in South America. Brazil qualified for the Women’s World Cup by finishing in first place in the final stage, winning seven matches in a row and scoring 31 goals along the way while conceding just two – one in the first round against Argentina, who went on to finish third, and one against eventual runners-up Chile in the final stage.
Brazil won its four opening-round games by a 22-1 margin to advance to the four-team final stage, where it beat Chile (3-1), Argentina (3-0) and Colombia (3-0). Chile finished second in the final stage group to also qualify for France, while Argentina finished third and will face the fourth-place finisher from the 2018 Concacaf Women’s Championship in a two-game playoff for a final World Cup berth.
Brazil averaged 4.42 goals a game during qualifying, the most prolific strike rate since the tournament switched to its current format. Despite having Marta and other big names such as Formiga, Andressinha, Thais and Cristiane, Brazil’s leading scorer was Beatriz, who scored six goals. Fourteen of Brazil's 19 outfield squad members at the Copa America Femenina 2018 found the net during the competition. Cristiane, who is playing in China and is not on this roster, had four goals, as did Monica, who plays for the Orlando Pride. Andressinha and Debinha had three goals each. Marta tallied just once.
Recent USA-Brazil Meetings Produce Goals & Excitement
Brazil returns to the USA about eight months after participating in the 2018 Tournament of Nations where it started the tournament with a 3-1 loss to Australia, defeating Japan, 2-1, and then fell to the USA 4-1. At last summer’s tournament, the USA needed a two-goal win to take the tournament title but fell behind 1-0 on a Tierna Davidson own goal. The USA roared back to scored four unanswered goals in front of a packed house in Bridgeview, Ill., with Rose Lavelle getting the equalizer and Julie Ertz putting the USA ahead off a brilliant assist from Tobin Heath. Heath then got the goal that would eventually win the tournament and Alex Morgan bagged a clincher. Debinha, Marta and Bia Zaneratto scored in the tournament. Brazil changed quite a few players from last summer’s tournament. Just 13 players from the Tournament of Nations roster return for the SheBelieves Cup.
The meeting before that was one of the most memorable in the storied history between the teams as Brazil took at 3-1 lead into the waning minutes of the 2017 Tournament of Nations before the Americans roared back with three goals in a nine-minute span to win 4-3. Samantha Mewis scored the first U.S. goal in the first half to equalize after an early Brazil goal, but Brazil scored in the 63rd and 78th minutes through Andressinha and Bruna Benites, respectively to seemingly clinch the match before the USA started the comeback with a goal from Christen Press in the 80th minute. Megan Rapinoe equalized in the 85th minute before Julie Ertz scored that dramatic game-winner in the 89th minute to send the crowd into a frenzy.
USA vs. Brazil History
Brazil has won or tied in three of the last six most recent meetings between the teams, with the first two of those matches taking place at the International Tournament of Brasilia at the end of 2014, but the USA has won three in a row. At the Tournament of Brasilia, the USA lost 3-2 in group play as Marta scored all three goals. Brazil only had four shots on goal during that match, but scored on three of them, to hand U.S. head coach Jill Ellis her first loss at the helm of the U.S. team and one of just seven total.
In the match in Brasilia, the USA had a 2-0 lead after nine minutes in that game as Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe scored early, but Marta brought her team back with three fantastic individual goals.
Besides play at the Tournament of Nations, the most recent meetings between the teams came during the post-World Cup Victory Tour in 2015, a 1-1 draw in Seattle on Oct. 21 (Carli Lloyd scored for the USA) followed by a 3-1 victory in Orlando on Oct. 25 as the USA got goals from Alex Morgan, Crystal Dunn and Stephanie McCaffrey.
In 2016, Emily Lima was named the first female head coach for the Brazilian Women’s National Team, replacing former head coach Vadão. Yet her stint didn’t last long and 10 months after being replaced by Lima, Vadão returned to the job in September of 2017 and guided the squad to the Copa America title. France 2019 will be his second Women's World Cup in charge.
Oswaldo Alvarez, better known as Vadão, has enjoyed a distinguished coaching career spanning almost 30 years, including taking the likes of Rivaldo and Kaka under his wing when they were youngsters. He had never coached women before his first stint in charge of the Brazilian National Team, which lasted from 2014 to 2016. During that time, he won his first Copa America Femenina, triumphed at the Pan American Games and led Brazil to the Round of 16 at the 2015 Women's World Cup and to a fourth-place finish in the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, a tournament in which the Brazilian women gained some intense popularity.
Close to World Cup and Olympic Glory
After failing to get out of the group in 1991 and 1995, Brazil have steadily improved from major tournament to major tournament. Brazil made a big leap forward at USA 1999, finishing third, and finished second in China in 2007 where they lost to Germany in the Final and they have also twice finished fifth (in 2003 and 2011). Brazil fell in the Round of 16 in Canada in 2015, where they finished ninth.
Brazil has long been a major contender in the women’s game, producing legendary players like Sissi, Formiga, Cristiane and Marta. But even though it has come very close, it has yet to win a Women’s World Cup or an Olympics – a dream that on more than one occasion has been ended by the USA.
The teams met in the gold medal games of the 2004 and 2008 Olympics, with the USA winning 1-0 in Athens, Greece and 2-1 in Beijing, China, both after extra time. Abby Wambach scored the game-winner in 2004, while Carli Lloyd bagged the game-winner in 2008.