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Algarve Cup Leads To Change At The Top

USA reclaim lead
Once again, the Algarve Cup, a competition always played in the early part of the year, has led to a change at the very top of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking. Just as they did in 2006, the USA used the opportunity presented by the meeting of the world’s ten leading teams in southern Portugal to make their mark at the top and to set their sights on defending their title at the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing. Their four victories, most notably over Norway and in the final against Denmark, enabled them to reclaim top spot, which they had lost to world champions Germany following the 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Pia Sundhage’s American charges also profited from the two defeats suffered by Germany (2nd, down 1) against Denmark and Norway.
With three victories apiece as well as a defeat against the USA, Norway (5th, unchanged) and Denmark in particular (8th, unchanged) have emerged in a positive light, despite not actually gaining in position. At the midway point between the Women’s World Cup and the Olympic Football Tournament, the Chinese women’s team (14th, down 1) once again failed to find the upward momentum they were looking for and ended the group phase in last place with no points. The best-placed Asian teams are still DPR Korea (6th, unchanged) and Japan (10th, up 1). Meanwhile, Tunisia (78th, up 11) are the team that have taken the biggest strides inside the top 100 since December.