SheBelieves Cup day 1: USWNT edge Canada 1-0, Brazil thump Argentina 4-1

The 2021 SheBelieves Cup day 1 showcased two rivalry matches. The outcomes were a bit different, but the favorites prevailed in both. Let’s take a look back at day 1 of the SheBelieves Cup.

SheBelieves Cup day 1
Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

SheBelieves Cup day 1

The USWNT edged out Canada 1-0, while Brazil thumped Argentina 4-1. Both of the favorites prevailed in different ways. One was not at their best but found a way to win, the other used their skill in their transition to score four times. Let’s first look at the game between the USA and Canada.

USWNT edge Canada 1-0

Flow of Play

The USWNT started in their normal 4-3-3 formation, but the starting 11 was unusual. Head Coach Vlatko Andonovski started a mixture of tenured veterans and younger players. He has mentioned that this SheBelieves cup is vital for evaluating players that could play this summer’s Olympic tournament, hence the odd starting 11. For Canada, their starting 11 looked a bit odd as well, as their all-time leading goalscorer, Christine Sinclair was ruled out for the tournament due to an injury. It was clear from the start of the match that the US had an upper hand, but it didn’t show on the scoreboard.

Throughout the match, the USA outshot Canada 28-9, but it was plain that it was not the sharpest day for the USWNT. Canada came to play keeping the possession game almost even. Their underdog mentality was felt in the match. There were instances where the US was caught out and Canada didn’t make punish them. While the USWNT seemed to squander their chances to score, they did inevitably find the breakthrough.

Result and Takeaway

Second-half substitute Rose Lavelle scored pounced on a ball that was poorly cleared by Canada after a US freekick. She smartly got away from her mark when the ball was played into the box and was in the perfect position to hit a one-timed shot past Canada’s keeper. It was a beautiful, perfectly placed shot to the near post from Lavelle that eventually secured all three points.

While this was not a perfect game for the USWNT, this is not uncommon from how they perform at the beginning of the year. They tend to grow as the year moves on. For Canada, this will be seen as a step in the right direction for their up-and-comers. They will be the ones tasked with getting a win over the US in the future; a win that would be Canada’s first of ver the USA since 2001!

Brazil thump Argentina 4-1

Flow of Play

Brazil started the match in a 4-2-3-1 formation. Star players Marta and Debinha led the attack for the Brazilian’s against an Argentina side that was depleted due to injuries and players not attending the tournament. Argentina came out in a 4-3-3 formation and looked to hold off their heated rivals Brazil.

Even with all of the mismatches on the field that favored Brazil, Argentina kept things close in the first half. It was clear that Argentina was fine with allowing Brazil to have the majority of possession. Once Argentina could turn the ball over they looked to spring a counter-attack. However, Brazil’s defenders snuffed out those chances throughout the first half. After 30 minutes of play, Brazil found the breakthrough after Marta converted a penalty. In the second half, they poured it on.

Result and Takeaway

Brazil’s possession, and attacking in transitional moments buried Argentina; they added three more goals on the day. Argentina did have one bright moment of counterattacking football when second-half substitute Mariana Larroquette nodded home a header. The final score was 4-1 in favor of Brazil.

The main takeaway for this handcuffed Argentina side was that they were able to hold their own for 30 minutes against their biggest rivals. Also, they converted a successful counterattack that featured amazing runs and a great cross and finish. For Brazil, it’s all about their attacking moments in transition. Brazils head coach, and former USWNT coach, Pia Sundhage stressed that this would be the key to Brazil’s success in the SheBelieves Cup. If they can keep up what they showed in the second half against Argentina, then they could just win this tournament! We’ll have a very clear picture of if that will be the case after day 2 of this Cup.

Day 2 is Sunday!

Day two of the 2021 SheBelieves Cup will showcase matches of the teams who won their first matches and those that didn’t. Standing’s leaders, Brazil will take on the USA, while Canada and Argentina will square off.

These will be important matches for all four squads certainly. Above all else, the teams at the top will look to solidify their place, while those without a win will look to creep up the leaderboard.

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Mandatory Credit: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire

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