Day two of the 2016 SheBelieves Cup is in the books. After four games the United States and Germany are set to clash for the cup on Wednesday at FAU Stadium at Boca Raton, Florida. However, before we start to look at what day three has in store let's take a look back at the two matches that took place on Sunday at Nissan Stadium at Nashville, Tennessee.
There were a combined four goals in the two matches. Once again the low scoring shows the fierce level of competition between Germany, USWNT, France and England in this tournament. So far there have been four matches played in the tournament and all of the games have been decided by a one goal score line.
In total this cup has had a combined six goals thus far. Five different players have scored in the round-robin tournament, and one own goal from England's Gilly Flaherty. The goal scorers are: Toni Duggan (England), Leonie Maier (Germany), Babett Peter (Germany), Crystal Dunn (USA) and Alex Morgan (USA).
Now let's begin the review of Sunday's matches.
USA 1-0 France
Morgan scored the clutch goal at the 91st minute to win the game 1-0. Her goal placed the United States just 90 minutes away from winning their second trophy of the year. She also helped eliminate the French from possibly lifting the trophy.
However, it was USWNT goalkeeper Hope Solo that kept Les Bleues scoreless for their second match in a row. She made three huge saves to keep the U.S. in the match. If the French had beaten Solo, then the outcome might have turned out differently. However, due to her saves and Morgan's goal the U.S. will be competing for the cup on Wednesday.
Germany 2-1 England
The Germans dominated the match by producing eight more shots than the English. However, the Three Lionesses defense was able to stand its ground against the number two nation in the FIFA Women’s Ranking.
England was able to shock the Germans by jumping ahead in the ninth minute. The 24-year-old striker Duggan put the English ahead 1-0 and kept their chances of winning the tournament a reality, for the moment.
Germany did not lose focus after conceding the goal; they continued to attack the Three Lionesses. The Europeans went on to place six shots on target. Their endless effort finally paid off when English defender Flaherty had a cross deflect of her foot and the ball bounced in for an own goal in the 76th minute to level the match 1-1.
A few minutes later the effort of England’s defense in the match went in vein when Germany was awarded a penalty. Peter stepped up and blasted the ball to the left hand corner to secure the 2-1 victory on Sunday.
How the group stands
The final two games of the cup will be played on Wednesday at FAU Stadium.
France v England
This match is strictly for pride and for third place. Plus, this match can add another chapter in the rivalry between these two countries. These are the two nations that did once engage in the Hundred Year’s War. So there is a bit of history between the two, and whenever they face each other it always turns into a big deal.
For the English to hold on to third place they have to either draw or defeat Les Bleues. The French have to win in the finale or else they will finish the tournament in last place.
Prediction: France 3-1 England
USA v Germany
Number one versus number two of the world will have a show down for the cup. For the Germans this match will represent the perfect opportunity to avenge the 2015 Women’s World Cup 2-0 defeat to the United States in the semifinals at the Olympic Stadium in Montreal.
Fourteen of those players who represented Germany in the semifinals are on the roster for this cup. Seven of those players started against the Americans so the memories are still fresh in their minds.
Nothing will be more satisfying for Germany then winning this cup on U.S. soil. All the Europeans have to do to hold on to first place is tie or beat the Americans.
The USWNT will be looking to seal the deal and win the first SheBelieves Cup. A victory is what the Yanks need to win the tournament. The players who USWNT manager Jill Ellis brought to the cup know how to win these tough matches, since 15 players of this roster participated in the World Cup. Including nine of the starters of that semifinal match and the two goal scorers: captain Carli Lloyd and veteran Kelley O’Hara.
For youngsters like Lindsey Horan, Dunn and Mallory Pugh a country like Germany will provide a new challenge for them. Also this game is a clear measuring stick for Ellis to see who is ready to start in the 2016 Rio Summer Olympic Games in August.
Prediction: United States 1, Germany 2
Now let’s see what unfolds on Wednesday in the final of the cup.