Five Things To Know: BrazilHydrated by BioSteel
The U.S. Women’s National team will play its third and final game of the 2023 SheBelieves Cup, presented by Visa, on Wednesday, Feb. 22, with the Americans looking to win the tournament for a fourth consecutive year. To do so, the USA will need a win or a draw against a skillful and spirited Brazil side that is ranked No. 9 in the world. The teams will square off at Toyota Park in Frisco, Texas at 7 p.m. ET / 6 p.m. CT on TNT, HBO Max, Universo and Peacock as the eighth edition of the SheBelieves Cup comes to a close.
Canada and Japan will meet in the first doubleheader of the day at 4 p.m. ET / 3 p.m. CT (HBO Max, Universo and Peacock) to kick off the doubleheader.
Get ready for the SheBelieves Cup finale with Five Things to Know.
BRAZIL LOOKS TO BOUNCE BACK
Brazil heads to Texas looking to bounce back from a 2-0 defeat to Canada on Sunday evening in Nashville, Tenn. In the second match day of the SheBelieves Cup. It was a hard-fought and evenly contested affair from the opening whistle which saw the teams combine for 24 shots and 30 fouls on the night. Brazil outshot Canada 14-10 and put six shots on goal to Canada’s five, but the Canadians were more ruthless inside the penalty box.
Canada broke through in the 31st minute on a thundering header from center back Vanessa Gilles, who got free from her defender and powered home a corner kick cross from midfielder Jesse Fleming to score from four yards out.
Trailing 1-0 at the half, Brazil almost scored off a header from a corner kick in the opening stages of the second half but Lauren sent her shot into the arms of Canada goalkeeper Kailen Sheridan. Seconds later, forward Debinha had a chance inside the box, but also hit her shot right at Sheridan from 18 yards out. Brazil again nearly equalized in the 55th minute as forward Ludmilla got behind the Canada defense on a semi-breakaway, but under pressure from a defender, she let the ball get away from her just a bit and Sheridan swept it away with her feet.
Canada put the match away with a goal in the 71st minute after a free-kick as forward Evelyne Viens smashed a volley through a crowded penalty box and into the net from seven yards out.
Brazil had two goldens chance to pull a goal back in the waning stages of the match but could not convert against the Canadians.
Brazil opened the 2023 SheBelieves Cup with a 1-0 win over Japan on Feb. 16 at Orlando’s Exploria Stadium, lifted by a 72nd minute goal from Debinha. The standout forward got on the end of a service from the legendary Marta, who returned to the field for her country after being sidelined for most of 2022 with a torn ACL, and deftly finished for the game’s only goal.
With the three points and a minus-one goal differential, Brazil is currently third in the SheBelieves Cup standings.
INSIDE THE ROSTER
Brazil’s roster for the SheBelieves Cup brings together a core of highly experienced veterans with a young group of players still looking to build experience on the international stage. Six-time FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year Marta makes her return to the squad after tearing her ACL in late March of 2022 and is by far the most experienced player on this roster with 184 appearances and 122 international goals. Marta, who celebrated her 37th birthday on Feb. 19, is also the oldest player on this roster and is looking to make her sixth World Cup roster.
Defender Tamires is the next most experienced player on this roster with 136 caps while dynamic attacker Debinha has 134 caps and is the second leading scorer on this roster with 58 international goals.
Debinha, who made headlines this summer when she signed with the Kansas City Current in free agency, is one of 15 players on this roster currently playing her club soccer outside of the country and one of six players set to compete in the National Women’s Soccer League this season. Marta plays for the Orlando Pride, midfielder Kerolin is entering her second season with the North Carolina Courage, outside back Bruninha made two appearances for NJ/NY Gotham FC last year, and midfielders Ary Borges (Racing Louisville FC) and Julia Bianchi (Chicago Red Stars) could make their NWSL debuts this season
Five other players play their club soccer in Spain, two in Portugal and one each in Germany and England.
The remaining eight players on this roster play their clubs soccer in Brazil, with five player for perennial league powers Corinthians.
BRAZIL WOMEN’S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM ROSTER BY POSITION
Goalkeepers (3): 1-Lorena (Gremio), 12-Letícia (Corinthians), 22-Luciana (Ferroviária)
Defenders (8): 2-Bruninha (NJ/NY Gotham FC, USA), 3-Kathellen (Real Madrid, ESP), 4-Rafaelle (Arsenal FC, ENG), 5-Tainara (FC Bayern Munich, GER), 6-Tamires (Corinthians), 13-Tarciane (Corinthians), 14-Lauren (Madrid CFF, ESP), 19-Yasmim (Corinthians)
Midfielders (5): 8-Ana Vitória (SL Benfica, POR), 11-Adriana (Corinthians), 15-Julia Bianchi (Chicago Red Stars, USA), 17-Ary Borges (Racing Louisville FC, USA), 21-Kerolin (NC Courage, USA)
Forwards (7): 7-Ludmila (Atlético de Madrid, ESP), 9-Debinha (Kansas City Current, USA), 10-Marta (Orlando Pride, USA), 16-Bia Zaneratto (Palmeiras), 18-Geyse (FC Barcelona, ESP), 20-Nycole (SL Benfica, POR), 23-Gabi Nunes (Madrid CFF, ESP)
SERIES HISTORY: USA vs. BRAZIL
Wednesday’s matchup in Frisco will be the 39th meeting all-time between the USA and Brazil. The U.S. leads the overall series with a record of 30 wins, five draws and three losses, and has won the last five head-to-head meetings between the teams. The U.S. is unbeaten on home soil, with 20 wins and two ties against Brazil in games played in the United States. The USA’s only losses to Brazil came in a friendly in 1997 in Sao Paulo, the 2007 Women’s World Cup semifinal in China, and a December 2014 friendly in Brasilia.
The last matchup between the USA and Brazil came on Feb. 21, 2021 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. in the second match day of the 2021 SheBelieves Cup. Christen Press opened the scoring for the USA with a goal in the 11th minute off an assist from Lindsey Horan while Megan Rapinoe added an insurance tally in the 88th to secure the 2-0 victory for the USA, her goal also coming off an assist from Horan. Ten of the 15 U.S. players who same time in that game against Brazil are on the roster for this year’s tournament.
Rapinoe has three goals and five assists in 10 career appearances against Brazil while Alex Morgan has two goals in nine career games vs. the South American powers. Rose Lavelle and Crystal Dunn have also scored one goal each in previous meetings against Brazil, while Horan has five assists in four career games vs. Brazil.
SUNDHAGE AT THE HELM
Longtime fans of the U.S. Women’s National Team will be very familiar with the face on the opposing sideline on Wednesday, as former USWNT head coach Pia Sundhage is now serving as head coach of Brazil. Sundhage took over the job in July of 2019 and in short succession coached Brazil to a quarterfinal appearance at the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics and a title at the 2022 Copa America Feminina last summer in Colombia.
This will be the second time Brazil faces the USA with Sundhage at the helm, the first coming during the meeting between the teams at the 2021 SheBelieves Cup.
Sundhage was extremely popular with players and fans alike when she coached the USA from 2008-2012, winning two Olympic gold medals and making it to the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. Her overall record with the USA was 91-6-10 and she is one of only four head coaches to coach more than 100 games for the USWNT. While Sundhage’s final match with the USA came in September of 2012, three of the 23 players on the USA’s current SheBelieves Cup roster played for Sundhage, as did current USWNT General Manager Kate Markgraf – Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and Becky Sauerbrunn. In fact, Sundhage’s first match with the USA was also the first cap for Sauerbrunn on Jan. 16, 2008, while Morgan, who was honored for her 200th cap earlier this tournament, also earned her first cap under Sundhage.
A standout player in her own right, Sundhage earned 146 caps and scored 71 goals as a forward for Sweden and represented her country at both the 1991 and 1995 FIFA Women’s World Cups, as well as the 1996 Summer Olympics.
As a coach, Sundhage served as an assistant for China PR at the 2007 Women’s World Cup before coaching the United States to the final in 2011. She then coached Sweden to a Round of 16 appearance at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. Australia/New Zealand 2023 will mark her third World Cup as a head coach and first with Brazil.
GROUP F AWAITS DOWN UNDER
Brazil qualified for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup by reaching the final of the 2022 Copa America Femenina. Brazil topped Colombia 1-0 in the final behind a 39th minute penalty kick from Debinha to win its eighth Copa America title. Brazil is one of seven nations, along with the USA, Germany, Japan, Nigeria, Norway and Sweden, to have qualified for every edition of Women’s World Cup.
Brazil was drawn into Group F for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup and will play the entirety of its group stage in Australia. Brazil will open the tournament on July 24 in Adelaide/Tarntanya against the winner of Playoff Group C, which will be either Paraguay or Panama. Those teams will play on Thursday, Feb. 23 in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa to determine the 32nd and final team in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup field. Brazil will then travel to Brisbane/Meaanjin for a July 29 matchup against France before closing group play on August 2 against Jamaica in Melboure/Naarm.
Brazil’s best performance at the Women’s World Cup came in 2007, where it finished runner-up to Germany, falling 2-0 in the final. After failing to make it out of the group stage in its first two trips to the Women’s World Cup in 1991 and 1995, Brazil has reached the knockout rounds in each of its last six appearances, including a third-place finish at the 1999 World Cup following a 2-0 defeat to the U.S. in the semifinal.
Brazil finished third in Group C at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France but advanced to the knockout rounds as one of the top third-place teams. Brazil took hosts France to extra time in the Round of 16, but fell 2-1 after a goal in the 107th minute by France’s Amadine Henry.