USA opens against Japan at Algarve Cup

[DATEBOOK] The USA will open against Japan two years to the day since its last defeat when it plays the reigning world champions at the 2014 Algarve Cup in Portugal. Tom Sermanni's Americans, unbeaten in their last 40 games since a 1-0 loss to Japan on March 5, 2012, will also face Sweden and Denmark in Group B at the 21st edition of the tournament, which includes the top three ranked women's teams in the world.

The USA opens the competition on March 5 against Japan, then faces Sweden on March 7 and finishes group play against Denmark on March 10. Group A will feature Germany, Norway, Iceland and China. Placement games will be played March 12.

The tournament features the top three teams in the FIFA rankings -- USA, Germany and Japan -- plus Sweden (6th), Norway (8th), Denmark (12th), China (18th) and Iceland (19th).

This year will mark the 19th Algarve Cup for the U.S. women, who have won the tournament a record nine times. Last year, the USA defeated Germany, 2-0, in the championship game as Alex Morgan scored twice.

The 2012 loss to Japan on Megumi Takase's late goal in group play marked the first time in 10 years the Americans missed the championship game.

The USA has a 52-10-9 record all-time at the Algarve Cup.
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