The second edition of the SheBelieves Cup wraps up tomorrow in Washington, D.C. with one last doubleheader – England faces Germany in the first game at 4 pm ET (streamed live on FoxSportsGo) and then the USWNT take on France in the finale at 7 pm ET (live on Fox Sports 1 and FoxSportsGo). Three of the four teams have a shot a winning the tournament trophy:
Will the USWNT defend their title?
A win against France means the USWNT will likely hang on to the SheBelieves trophy. The only potential snag – if England beats Germany. If that happens, then England and USA are tied on points with six each (two wins, one loss) so tiebreakers come into play.
The tiebreakers for this tournament are (in order): goal differential (USA & England are currently tied at zero GD), total goals scored (England has scored 2, USA has scored 1 so far), head-to-head (England) and FIFA ranking (USA is #1, but this would not come in to play since England would win on the previous tiebreaker).
So let’s say both USA and England win 1-0 tomorrow night. They’d be tied on points and goal differential (plus 1), but England would be declared champions by having scored three goals in the tournament compared to USA’s two. But if USA wins 2-0 while England wins 1-0, USA edges England with superior goal differential. Several scenarios are shown here:
France’s first major trophy?
A win against the Americans would give Les Bleues their first major trophy. They’ve won two Cyprus Cups (2012 & 2014) but this would be the first trophy earned against top 5 competition. Even a tie against the USWNT gives France the SBC trophy, unless England beats Germany.
The French team has been “on the verge” since their breakout performance in the 2011 Women’s World Cup, reaching the semifinals. And of the SBC opponents, France is the team that most recently beat the USWNT, back in February 2015. It’s certainly fitting that that the final USWNT opponent in this tournament is France.
The roar of the Lionesses
There are two scenarios in which England wins this tournament. The first is described above (beating Germany and edging USA on tiebreakers if USA beats France); the second requires a win over Germany plus a USA-France tie.
The Lionesses scored just one goal in three SBC games last year, and they’ve already doubled that total this year. Their confidence is high after grabbing a late win against the WWC champs Saturday, and Germany is not the squad they were at the 2015 Women’s World Cup when England edged them 1-0 to finish third.
Just like France, winning the SheBelieves Cup would be a great accomplishment for England. In addition to their 2015 third place finish, they’ve won three Cyprus Cup titles (2009, 2013, 2015) and reached the final of the 2009 European Championship (losing to Germany), but have never earned a trophy against top 5 competition.
So who ya got? Here are the Keeper’s predictions for tomorrow’s games:
England 1, Germany 0
France 1, USA 2
This would mean:
England – 6 points (winner via head-to-head tiebreaker)
USA – 6 points
France – 4 points
Germany – 1 point