The 20th edition of the Algarve Cup opens up on Wednesday, March 6, 2013. In addition to featuring top-ranked teams including the United States, Japan and current titleholders Germany, this year’s tournament also features the first International Women’s Football Seminar staged by the Portuguese Football Federation (FPF).The Portuguese Football Federation (FPF) organizes the competition each year in collaboration with Scandinavian federations. Along with the host country, Denmark, Norway and Sweden are the only countries to compete in all 20 tournaments. One team that has yet to make an appearance is Brazil. Over email, Carlos Luca, Director of FPF’s Events and Marketing Division, explained that even if the tournament doesn’t get all the teams it targets, the competition level remains quality.
“Every other edition we might not get all the teams that we want, but our goal of getting the top ones remains intact,” Luca said in an email. “Of course we would have Brazil every year, for example, but if they don’t come, the level of the tournament surely doesn’t go down.”
The tournament has done well to gather teams from federations across the world but one area that has yet to be represented is the Middle East. Luca said via email that “the Portuguese Football Federation has been talking about it for some time and we do plan to open that ‘market’ in the near future.”
The tournament opened in 1994 with six teams and increased to eight teams in 1995. In 2002, the competition opened up to 12 teams. I asked Luca if the Algarve Cup would expand beyond the current 12-team competition.
“It is unlikely to happen due to the sports international calendar. Expanding would lead to more match days which would be extremely difficult to accomplish,” Luca wrote. “In addition, there are also operational issues making it difficult, like the number of stadiums involved. In conclusion, we are happy with the current number of teams (12).”
International Women’s Football Seminar
The FPF will host an International Women’s Football Seminar from March 9-10 in Albufeira. The seminar will feature the head coaches from Mexico, Iceland and Wales discussing the growth of women’s football and its future. Luca said the 2oth edition of the Algarve is the perfect time to launch the seminar and also coincides with the women’s national teams in Portugal making strides on the international stage.
“The first reason is the special occasion. As you know, we are hosting the XX (20th) edition of the tournament and we will have experts in women’s soccer during the week. It would be a shame not to take the opportunity of hearing their views on the matter,” Luca wrote. “The second reason is linked to the growth of this sport in Portugal. The Portuguese Football Federation feels that we are approaching a turning point, following the latest good results of the youth National Women’s Teams and also the A Team.”
The seminar program is available in PDF format here.
How to Watch
Eurosport is televising the games for viewers in Europe and Integrated Sports Media will be airing the US Women’s National Team games live on pay-per-view television for viewers in the US. Information on online streams for the USWNT games can be found here.
More information on the teams, groups and match schedule is available here.
By The Numbers
Crunching some numbers, a few statistics stand out:
Source: Portuguese Football Federation, 2013, Results and Standings