After a great game despite the defeat against Canada, Argentina will have its last and most difficult challenge at the prestigious international competition: starting at 9:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 24, the “Albiceleste” will face the host and two times defending FIFA World Cup Champion USA, in the last game of the tournament.
In despite of the recent growth and development of the “Albiceleste”, its history against teams from outside of South America is quite short. When it comes to face USA, the head to head against United States is one sided: The North Americans won all three previous encounters by a +21-goals margin.
The first two duels date back to April 1998, when the Argentina traveled to California to play two international friendlies: The South Americans lost 1-8 in Fullerton and 0-7 in San José, results that were far away form expectations.
The last match up between these two took place in an international tournament held in Brazil, in 2014. The team lead by actual coach Carlos Borrello experienced another heavy defeat (0-7), against a USA team that was beginning to consolidate toward the dynasty that reigns today women’s football.
TOURNAMENT RECAP FOR ARGENTINA
With a more defensive approach than it showed in the debut against Brazil, the Albiceleste was a few seconds away of reaching a historic draw against Canada, one the power houses of the region.
A lose ball in the Argentina penalty box, after a series of rebounds, allowed Sarah Stratigakis to score the late game winner (90’+2’), giving the three points to the North Americans.
The worst news for Argentina, though, came the next day, when it was confirmed the serious knee injury suffered by midfielder Lorena Benítez, whose recovery will take several months.
Although the result left a bitter taste, the inspiring defense throughout the entire game is nothing but a scoop of how Argentina might approach the game against the World Champion.
“The key to the team is camaraderie, each of us ran after each ball for the shirt and for her teammate. We knew Canada is a power house, and that one of their best qualities is their speed, something we do not have. That is why we tried to counterattack them”.
Vanesa Santana, at the post game press conference after the 1-0 defeat against Canada.
“We want to prepare for the Copa América next year, and these games against great teams are very good for us. We want all the players to experience how the high competition feels like. These teams have decades of history. We want to make our own way, slowly, but firmly. My goal is for all players to have minutes on the field. We all want to win, but our evaluation goes beyond the result”.
Coach Carlos Borrello at the post game press conference after the 1-0 defeat against Canada.
VISA SHEBELIEVES CUP MVP SPOTLIGHT: MARIANA LARROQUETTE
The lone player on Argentina’s roster currently with an NWSL club, Mariana Larroquette is by far the highest scorer on the roster with 15 goals in 52 caps. The next highest scorer is Sole Jaimes, who has six goals in 37 caps and plays her club ball in China.
A 28-year-old forward from Buenos Aires, Argentina, Larroquette has represented her home country at the 2008 and 2012 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cups and was also a member of Argentina’s National Team at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Larroquette signed a two-year deal with Kansas City ahead of the 2021 NWSL season, having played most recently for Lyn in Norway.
TOURNAMENT RECAP FOR USA
Few teams in the history of soccer have managed to establish themselves at the pinnacle of the discipline with the same level of success as this US national team.
With its two consecutive FIFA World Cup trophies (2015 and 2019), among many other accomplishments, the actual squad is rewriting the history of women’s sports on and off the field.
Speaking specifically of their performance in the SheBelieves Cup, the United States remains the only undefeated team, after its wins over Canada (1-0) and Brazil (2-0). Therefore, USA needs only a tie to secure its fourth title, after winning this tournament in 2016, 2018 and 2020.
Through all the achievements made in recent times, it is not news that the United States is leading the table of the best selected on the planet. The 2192 points achieved so far allow him to get a difference of 101 units over Germany, his first shooting guard with 2091.
The Feb. 24 matchup against Argentina will be the fourth game the USWNT’s fourth game in 2021 against a CONMEBOL opponent. The USA played Colombia on Jan. 18 and Jan. 22, before facing Brazil on Feb. 21 on the second matchday of the SheBelieves Cup.
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