February 25, 2010
Germans look solid
The USA sits atop Group B with three points after defeating Iceland 2-0 in the opening game of the Algarve Cup on Feb. 24, but the meeting with Norway on Feb. 26 in Olhão (10 a.m. ET on ussoccer.com’s MatchTracker) looms large in determining the group’s representative in the Algarve Cup final.
Sweden and Norway drew 2-2, giving each team one point, which means a U.S. victory against Norway would put them firmly in control of the group. The group winners will play for the championship on March 3.
GROUP A: The Germans have struggled at the Algarve Cup the past three years, finishing fourth in 2008 and 2009 and eighth in 2007 after winning the tournament in 2006, but that streak seems to be over. The Germans were coming off a solid 3-0 victory against Korea DPR in a friendly match in Germany prior to traveling to the Algarve, and they thrashed Denmark 4-0 in their opening game. The Germans got goals from Melanie Behringer, who missed the match with the USA last October due to injury, Birgit Prinz and two from in-form striker Inka Grings. With China and Finland drawing 1-1 (China’s goal came from former L.A. Sol striker Han Duan), Germany is solidly in control of the group heading into its second match against Finland.
GROUP B: Sweden actually fell behind Norway 2-0 after just 12 minutes with Lindy Melissa Wiik and Marit Christensen scoring. Norway looked to be taking the game to Sweden in the first part of the match, but the Swedes took over thereafter and were unfortunate not to fashion a victory. Sweden pulled a goal back in the 20th minute through Linda Sembrant and then tied the game in the 53rd through Sky Blue FC forward Jessica Landstrom, who proved to be quite a handful when paired with Sweden star Lotta Schelin.
GROUP C: Portugal was not a gracious host to the Faroe Islands during its first-ever Algarve Cup match as the Portugese won 5-0 behind a hat trick from captain Edite Fernandes and a brace from Sofia Viera. Romania showed why they are ranked 36th in the world to Austria’s 39th, winning 2-0 on goals from Cosmina Dusa and Laura Rus.