Soccer

Argentina joins Canada at SheBelieves Cup after Japan drops out

Canada will take part in the SheBelieves Cup women's soccer tournament next month alongside the host U.S., Brazil and Japan. The Feb. 18-24 event at Orlando's Exploria Stadium will mark the Canadian women's team's first action since March 10, 2020.

4-team tournament, which also features top ranked U.S. and Brazil, starts Feb. 18

Argentina is joining top ranked U.S., Brazil, and Canada at the SheBelieves Cup, after Japan dropped out of the four-team tournament on Thursday. (Juan Karita/Associated Press/Files)

Canada has a new opponent at next month's SheBelieves Cup in Orlando with Argentina replacing Japan at the four-team women's soccer tournament.

U.S. Soccer said 10th-ranked Japan withdrew "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.

The top-ranked U.S. and Brazil, tied for eighth with Canada in the FIFA world rankings, are the other teams participating in the sixth edition of the tournament.

Argentina, tied for 31st in the world rankings, made its third World Cup appearance in 2019 in France. The South Americans tied Japan 0-0 and Scotland 3-3 and lost 1-0 to England. The comeback against Scotland earned kudos, with the South Americans rallying from 3-0 down in the last 16 minutes.

The Canadian women are 4-0-0 against Argentina, although the two teams have not met since 2011 when Canada won 1-0 at the Pan-American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

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Canada making tournament debut

It's Canada's first trip to the SheBelieves Cup, which runs Feb. 18 to 24,

The four teams will play out of a bubble in Orlando. U.S. Soccer says teams and staff will be tested for COVID-19 before traveling, upon arrival and every two days thereafter.

The teams will not begin full training until the results of all arrival tests are confirmed. A limited number of fans will be allowed into Exploria Stadium.

The top-ranked Americans have won the tournament three times (2016, 2018 and 2020).

Unlike the other three participants, Argentina did not qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

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