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Japan withdraws from SheBelieves cup due to COVID-19, Argentina takes spot

CHICAGO (January 28, 2021) – Argentina has replaced Japan in the sixth annual SheBelieves Cup, Presented by Visa, which will be staged from Feb. 18-24 at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Argentina now joins host USA, Brazil and Canada.

Japan withdrew from the tournament 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. Brazil and Canada are confirmed to participate in the tournament.

At the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France, Argentina participated in the World Cup for the third time, following its back-to-back appearances in 2003 and 2007. Drawn into a difficult Group D, La Albiceleste distinguished themselves in front of the world with a 0-0 tie against 2015 Women’s World Cup finalists Japan, a 1-0 loss to eventual fourth-place finishers England and a wild 3-3 draw with Scotland.

The two points were not enough to get Argentina into the Round of 16, but the comeback against the Scots from a 3-0 deficit via three goals in the last 16 minutes plus stoppage time was one of the highlights of the tournament and also knocked Scotland out of the competition.

Argentina’s participation in the 2021 SheBelieves Cup sets up a clash with its biggest rival, Brazil. At the 2018 Copa América Femenina, which Brazil won (securing its seventh straight Confederation title), Argentina finished third, falling to Brazil 3-1 in group play and 3-0 in the final stage match-up. Argentina is currently ranked 31st in the world and third in South America.

Once all four teams arrive in Orlando, all the players and staffs will operate inside highly controlled environments at the host hotel. The staging of trainings and the matches will fall under the comprehensive U.S. Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines and in accordance with the Concacaf Return to Play Protocols. Everyone entering the controlled environment will be tested for COVID-19 before traveling, upon arrival and every two days thereafter. The teams will not begin full team training until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed. All matches will be conducted with limited attendance.

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