USWNT’s quest for a 7th SheBelieves Cup begins this afternoon vs Japan

USWNT
United States midfielder Lindsey Horan (10) celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup women’s soccer tournament quarterfinal against Colombia, Sunday, March 3, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The USWNT is back in action in their final competitive tournament ahead of this summer’s Olympics. The 9th edition of the SheBeleives Cup takes place over the next four days! The tournament will look a little bit different this year with single-elimination matches starting with a semifinal and then a final. In previous tournaments, the results were points-based as all four competing nations played each other, and the nation with the most points from their three games was crowned champions.

Joining the USWNT in the 2024 SheBelieves Cup are, Japan, Brazil, and Canada. The USA will take on Japan in their semifinal while Brazil and Canada will square off. All four nations sit in the top 10 of the FIFA Women’s World Rankings and qualified to compete in this summer’s Olympic tournament. This tournament could be vital to each nation’s preparation. number four USWNT opens things up against number seven Japan looking to win their 7th SheBelieves title!

USWNT, SheBelieves
United States midfielder Lindsey Horan (10) celebrates after scoring on a penalty kick during the first half of a CONCACAF Gold Cup women’s soccer tournament quarterfinal against Colombia, Sunday, March 3, 2024, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

USWNT vs Japan Preview

The USWNT is already in flying form heading into this SheBelieves Cup. They triumphed in the first-ever W Gold Cup earlier in the year, paving their way to making the Summer Olympics. Their new manager Emma Hayes, will still not be on the touchline for this tournament as she finishes her final season leading Chelsea in England. This leaves interim coach Twila Kilgore to take charge yet again, and for this tune-up tournament, she has called in a strong roster.

A mixture of players who helped achieve the W Gold Cup, along with newcomers and players returning from injury make up this very talented roster. While the USA is the highest-ranked nation in this tournament, we have seen that this version of the team can lose to teams that can throw them off their game. Japan could be one of those teams with their organization and ability to defend and counter. Japan is known for that style, and if they can frustrate the United States, then they could pull off the victory.

The last time these two teams squared off this was Japan‘s tactic, and it seemed to work until Mallory Swanson scored just before halftime. That match just so happened to be in last year’s SheBelieves Cup, which the USWNT won thanks to Swanson scoring four goals in three matches. She is back after a nasty knee injury that kept her out of last year’s Women’s World Cup. Could we see a repeat of what happened last year, or will there be more goals from either team?

World Cup, USWNT, SheBelieves
Japan’s players celebrate after Hinata Miyazawa scored their third goal during the Women’s World Cup second round soccer match between Japan and Norway in Wellington, New Zealand, Saturday, Aug. 5, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Who will make it to the SheBelieves Cup Final?

There’s no denying that whenever the USWNT is involved in something they get put under the microscope. As the state of Women’s football moves to one where sheer athleticism doesn’t equal winning anymore, this version of the USWNT will have to ready themselves for the stiffest competition they’ve ever faced in every match. Japan will bring a real test ahead of the Summer Olympics. Should the USA win, they’ll take on either ninth-ranked Canada or 10th-ranked Brazil in the final.

Be sure to tune into both Semifinal matches on Saturday, April 6th! USA-Japan kicks things off at 12:30 pm EST; watch that action on TNT. Canada-Brazil will kick off at 3:30 pm EST on MAX! Which of these nations will take advantage of the final competitive matches ahead of the coveted Summer Olympic Tournament? We’ll have to watch to find out!

USWNT, W Gold Cup, SheBelieves
Players for the United States celebrate during the penalty shootout in a CONCACAF Gold Cup women’s soccer tournament semifinal match against Canada, Wednesday, March 6, 2024, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

Best USWNT & SheBelieves Bets

Be sure to return to Philly Sports Network for more Philadelphia Union and other soccer content!

Follow our Union team on Twitter:

Tim Lovenguth | Jimmy King | Paul Frenzel
Eric Frysinger | Liam Jenkins
Steve Beavon | Zach LoBasso

Doop on Union fans!

Mandatory Credit: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez