The Algarve Cup 2015 was the 22nd edition of this important tournament series for women's national soccer teams and took place from March 4th to 11th, 2015, as in previous years, at various venues in the Algarve , the southernmost region of Portugal . Six teams from the top ten FIFA world rankings took part in the tournament. The Algarve Cup is therefore often referred to as the "Mini World Cup". The tournament served as preparation for the 2015 World Cup for nine participants . For the first time took Brazil and Switzerland participate. On February 27th, a new trophy was presented to the winning team.
Twelve national teams took part in the tournament. In contrast to previous years, there have been some changes to the game mode. The eight teams with the highest ratings were no longer allocated to groups A and B and the four weaker teams were assigned to group C; rather, the three groups in 2015 were about equally strong. But as before, the teams played each against each other in their group for the placement. First the best score, then the direct comparison, then the goal difference in all games, the number of goals scored, the fair play rating and finally the place in the FIFA world rankings were decisive for the placement. This regulation also applied - with the exception of the direct comparison - for the determination of the best group winners, second, third and fourth.
Then proceed as follows:
Final game: The two best group winners of groups A, B and C played for the tournament victory.
Match for 3rd place: The worst group winner against the best second-placed team in groups A, B and C.
Match for 5th place: The two remaining runners-up in the group.
Game for 7th place: The two best third of the groups A, B and C.
Game for 9th place: The worst group third against the best fourth-placed team in groups A, B and C.
Game for 11th place: The two remaining fourth in the group.
If it was a draw after the regular playing time of the placement games, there was no extra time , but a penalty shoot-out immediately afterwards .
As FIFA classified the games as friendlies, each team was allowed to replace six players per game, with a maximum of four game interruptions, of which a maximum of three game interruptions after the start of the second half. Yellow cards received during the tournament had no accumulating effect. After a yellow-red card , a player was automatically banned from the next game.
For the first time since 2002, when the tournament was increased to 12 teams, hosts Portugal also had the theoretical chance of winning the tournament, as the winner of Group C also made it into the final for the first time. However, in contrast to previous years, Portugal had to compete against significantly stronger teams and ultimately only finished fourth in the group.
With the new mode, Germany and Sweden, two teams who had already played against each other in Group A, met again in the game for third place. This was previously only possible for teams in Group C, from which a team was now in the final for the first time.
For the first time, France had a team in the final that reached (and won) the final of the Cyprus Cup the year before .
For the first time, the reigning world champion was only ninth. The worst placement of a reigning world champion so far was 8th place, which Germany finished in 2007, but then successfully defended the world championship title.
China only played for 11th place for the first time and lost to the hosts on penalties. This is also the worst placement of a former winner (previously China and Norway 10th, 2007 and 2014 respectively)
Iceland, which was still third in 2014, failed to score for the first time, but did not concede a goal against record winners USA and achieved their worst result so far with 10th place.
France finished second for the first time.
Germany came third for the first time.
Sweden finished fourth for the fifth time in a row.
The USA won for the first time a team that was only 7th in the previous year. So far it has only been possible for a fifth of the previous year to win the tournament: 1999 China, 2003 the USA and 2009 Sweden.
Brazil and Switzerland, which took part for the first time, met in the game for 7th place. For both it was the first game against each other and for Switzerland the first game ever against a South American team.
The Brazilian Formiga , who played with the number 8 at the last two World Cup tournaments , wore the jersey with the number 20 at the Algarve Cup, as she has played for the Seleção for 20 years. At the 2015 World Cup, for which she was also nominated, she was the second player to take part in six World Cup finals.