The United States and Canada outdid Europe's FIFA Women's World Cup contenders over the last week by respectively capturing the Algarve and Cyprus Cups.
There was a European finalist in the Algarve Cup but surprisingly it was Iceland, who defeated Sweden 2-1, China 2-1 and Denmark 1-0 in the group stage before losing 4-2 to the US, Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir taking her tournament tally to four goals. Sweden, who face the US in the World Cup group stage in Germany, were fourth, recovering from the Iceland loss to beat Denmark 3-1 and China 1-0 only to fall in the play-off 2-1 to Japan.
Fellow World Cup finalists Norway beat Denmark 5-4 on penalties following a 0-0 draw to finish fifth, having beaten Finland 2-1 but lost 2-0 to the USA and 1-0 to Japan in their group. Wales were eighth, Portugal beat Finland for ninth and Romania came 12th.
Canada, announced last week as 2015 World Cup hosts, retained the Cyprus title but needed extra time to defeat the Netherlands 2-1 in the final, Roger Reijners's team having excelled in the group stage to see off World Cup contenders New Zealand 4-1 and France 2-1 before beating Switzerland 6-0.
France, who like World Cup hosts Germany will play Canada in the group stage in June, overcame Scotland 3-0 for third place, having sandwiched their Netherlands defeat with a 2-0 win against Switzerland and 5-2 beating of New Zealand. Fifth place went to Europe's other World Cup finalists England thanks to a 2-0 defeat of the Korea Republic; they had started by beating Italy by that scoreline only to lose in identical fashion to Scotland and Italy. The Azzurre came ninth thanks to a 2-0 win against Russia and Switzerland bounced back from three group defeats to beat Northern Ireland 2-1 for 11th place.
After discovering their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying opponents on Monday (except hosts Sweden, who go straight to the finals), the World Cup contenders turn their attention back to their build-up to Germany. The reigning champions, who sat out the Algarve Cup while they finish their domestic season, will play Korea DPR in Ingolstadt on 21 May, Italy in Osnabruck on 3 June, another opponent four days later in Aachen and finally Norway on 16 June in Mainz.
England are preparing to take on the US at London's Brisbane Road on 2 April while the same day Sweden meet Canada in Rome. France next are rematched with Scotland on 18 May while Norway are scheduled to return to action with their trip to Germany.
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