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US’s March tournament will feature four of the top five women’s teams in the world

Photo credit: AFP.

Photo credit: AFP.

Three-time defending Olympic women’s soccer champion United States will play host to England, France and Germany in a March tournament among four of the world’s top teams ahead of August’s Rio Olympics.

The Americans, who beat fourth-ranked Japan in last year’s Women’s World Cup final at Vancouver, will be tested by second-ranked Germany, third-ranked France and number five England for the SheBelieves Cup from March 3-9.

The US women, featuring FIFA 2015 Women’s Player of the Year Carli Lloyd, will not compete at Portugal in the Algarve Cup, an event where they have competed for the past 18 years, which will be played over the same time frame.

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Doubleheaders will be staged on March 3 in Tampa (Germany-France and USA-England), March 6 at Nashville (USA-France and Germany-England) and March 9 at Boca Raton, Florida (France-England and USA-Germany).

“When I took this job, one of my main objectives was to play the best teams in the world during our preparation periods and you can’t ask for better matches,” said US coach Jill Ellis, FIFA’s 2015 Women’s World Coach of the Year.

“To get the chance to play these great teams on home soil is a treat for our fans and extremely valuable in the further evolution of our team. These are the kinds of games where you get tested all over the field and can really evaluate players and learn a lot about ourselves.”

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