For the first time in 17 years, Australia will participate in one of the longest running women’s international football tournaments, the Algarve Cup.
Held annually since 1994, Australia joins 11 other nations in the 2017 invitational tournament and it will be the first time since 1999 the Matildas have been invited.
The 2017 Algarve Cup will run from 1 – 8 March and will feature Olympic silver medallists Sweden, Olympic bronze medallists Canada and 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup finalists Japan.
Alongside the Cyprus Cup and the newly created SheBelieves Cup, it is one of the few non-FIFA affiliated tournaments for national teams.
Earlier this month, the Cyprus Cup Organising Committee had confirmed Australia for their tournament but the Matildas withdrew upon receiving an invite to the Algarve.
The 12 teams are be divided into 3 groups of 4 before playing off in “place” matches. The match days are set down for 1, 3, 6 and 8 March 2017.
The field includes 8 nations set to take part in the 2017 European Women’s Championships in the Netherlands.
— Ann Odong ??? (@AnnOdong) November 19, 2016
Australia has been drawn in Group C alongside Euro 2017 bound nations Sweden, the Netherlands and AFC counterparts China.
Women’s football National isolator already commented on the constitution of the edition of the Algarve Cup 2017 groups, highlighting the opportunity to play against “three highly competitive teams,” before the premiere of Portugal in the 2017 European Championship in the Netherlands.
“There are three highly competitive teams,” said Francisco Neto.
“Two [Denmark and Russia] will be present in the EURO-2017, the other [Canada] was the last winner of the Algarve Cup. Three completely distinct set of standards and this is exactly what we were looking in the preparation of European who will compete in the summer. for us, it will be a very good time of preparation, observation and growth.”
Noticeable absentees from the list of nations are 10 time Algarve Cup winners the United States, Olympic gold medallists Germany and Euro 2017 bound France and England. The quartet will play in the second year of the She Believes Cup to be held around the same time period in the United States.
The Algarve Cup will mark the commencement of a new Asian Cup, World Cup and Olympics cycle for Alen Stajcic and the Matildas.
2017 Algarve Cup Groups
Denmark – Russia – Portugal – Canada
Norway – Japan – Iceland – Spain
Sweden – Netherlands – Australia – China