Argentina replaces Japan at four-team SheBelieves Cup in Orlando next month

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Canada has a new opponent at next month's SheBelieves Cup in Orlando with Argentina replacing Japan at the four-team women's soccer tournament.

U.S. Soccer said 10th-ranked Japan withdrew "citing the current status of the COVID-19 pandemic in their country." Argentina will slot into Japan’s schedule and the order of games and kickoff times will not change.

The top-ranked U.S. and Brazil, tied for eighth with Canada in the FIFA world rankings, are the other teams participating in the sixth edition of the tournament.

Argentina, tied for 31st in the world rankings, made its third World Cup appearance in 2019 in France. The South Americans tied Japan 0-0 and Scotland 3-3 and lost 1-0 to England. The comeback against Scotland earned kudos, with the South Americans rallying from 3-0 down in the last 16 minutes.

The Canadian women are 4-0-0 against Argentina, although the two teams have not met since 2011 when Canada won 1-0 at the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

It's Canada's first trip to the SheBelieves Cup, which runs Feb. 18 to 24,

The four teams will play out of a bubble in Orlando. U.S. Soccer says teams and staff will be tested for COVID-19 before traveling, upon arrival and every two days thereafter.

The teams will not begin full training until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed. A limited number of fans will be allowed into Exploria Stadium.

The top-ranked Americans have won the tournament three times (2016, 2018 and 2020).

Unlike the other three participants, Argentina did not qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.


SheBelieves Cup Schedule (All times ET)

All games at Exploria Stadium

Feb. 18: Brazil vs. Argentina, 4 p.m.; U.S, vs. Canada, 7 p.m.

Feb. 21: U.S. vs. Brazil, 3 p.m.; Argentina vs. Canada, 6 p.m.

Feb. 24: Canada vs. Brazil, 4 p.m.; U.S. vs. Argentina, 7 p.m.


This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 28, 2021

Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press