The Algarve Cup
is a global invitational tournament for
. Held annually in the Algarve region of Portugal since 1994,
it is one of the most prestigious women's football events,
alongside the Women's World
Cup and Women's
Currently, 12 teams are invited, with
the top eight competing for the championship. The teams are divided
into three groups of four — A, B and C. Group C was added in 2002
to provide second-tier teams with high-level match experience every
year. The current holder is Sweden.
The teams first play round-robin
their pool. Then the placement round proceeds as follows:
- 11th place: Bottom teams in Group C play one game.
- 9th place: The Group C runner-up plays one game against the
lower-ranked of the fourth-place teams from Groups A and B.
- 7th place: The Group C winner plays one game against the
higher-ranked of the fourth-place teams from Groups A and B.
- 5th place: The third-place teams from Groups A and B play one
- 3rd place: The second-place teams from Groups A and B play one
- 1st place: The first-place teams from Groups A and B play one
The most successful teams have been the USA with six titles and
four. Norway's titles all came in the early years of the
tournament, while the USA have won all their titles in the 2000s,
including five in six years since 2003. Sweden
has won three
two times and the current FIFA
Women's World Cup
once. The USA, Norway and Germany are (so far) the only nations to
win both the FIFA World Cup and the Algarve Cup.
The Algarve Cup, as an annual event featuring most of the world's
top women's football teams, has no parallel in the men's game,
given the fact that professional women's leagues are few and far
between, thus not being likely to have scheduling conflicts.