The return of Spain, champion in 2017, is the great news of the next edition of the Algarve Cup, formerly a women’s football world, with Portugal facing Sweden and Switzerland.
In this year’s edition, which runs from February 27 to March 6, Francisco Neto’s team of ‘quinas’ will be in Group D, with Sweden, ninth in the FIFA World Ranking, and Switzerland, 18 .ª.
“It is one of the two teams [Sweden] that Portugal has not yet faced from the top-10 of this moment.” In this Algarve Cup only Sweden and Germany we have not yet faced, “said the Portuguese coach.
Speaking to the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF), Francisco Neto explained that this year will be “different” in the Algarve Cup, for bringing together teams preparing for the World Cup in France, where the Portuguese team will not be.
“We are going to face some teams that are in their preparation, the players will also want to show the quality they have, so I think the level will still be higher than it has been in recent years,” said the coach.
In 2017, Portugal, ranked 32nd, achieved the best ever result in the competition, finishing third, after winning the Chinese and Norwegian group stage, draw with Australia and already in the game of the third place to beat the Australians.
In relation to this year’s edition, Francisco Neto expects two very competitive games that will “test” the Portuguese team against very different opponents. The more experienced Sweden, accustomed to the final stages, and a Switzerland (18th) with the new coach and growing.
The competition has the return of Spain (12th), winner of 2017, and several teams of the world top 10: the Netherlands (7th), the current European champion, Sweden (9th), the finalist in the Games of Rio 2016, and Canada (5th), Olympic bronze.
There will be four groups in the first phase, with Canada (5th), Iceland (22nd) and Scotland (20th) in group A, Spain (12th), Netherlands (7th) and Poland , Denmark (17th) and China (15th) in C and Sweden (9th), Switzerland (18th) and Portugal (32nd) no D.
The games of this edition will be disputed in Parchal, Algarve Stadium, Vila Real de Santo António, Albufeira and Lagos.