The USA defeated Germany 1-0 to lift the Algarve Cup for the third time in succession.
The USA won the Algarve Cup for the third time in succession with a 1-0 Final victory over major rivals Germany at the Estádio Algarve.
The event’s top scorer, Christie Welsh, hit her fifth goal of the 12-nation tournament for the world’s second-ranked nation to beat the team who sit at the head of FIFA’s rankings.
The USA lost to Germany in 2003’s World Cup Final, but the Americans have had pay-back victories first in the 2004 Olympics semi-final and now at the Algarve Cup.
A slight consolation for Germany was having striker Birgit Prinz, 2004’s World Player of the Year, named as Player of the Tournament.
More importantly for the Germans, during the group stage they beat Sweden and Norway - teams who like themselves will in June be in England for the Women’s Euro 2005.
France, another of the Women’s Euro 2005 contestants, beat Sweden 3-2 in the third place play-off tie - also held at the Estádio Algarve, set between Faro and Loulé.
Sara Johansson twice hit equalising goals for the Scandinavians, but Hoda Lattaf grabbed the winner for France 10 minutes from time.
Norway and Denmark, yet another two teams who will be in the north west of England for the eight-nation Women’s Euro 2005, clashed in the play-off for fifth place.
Norway’s 2-1 win meant that Denmark, who will be in England’s group at the finals, had lost three successive matches after beating Finland on the tournament’s opening day.
By contrast, England had won all three of their group games but then lost to China on penalties after a goalless draw in their play-off tie for seventh place.
The match for ninth place also went to penalties, Mexico beating Finland 6-5 in the shoot-out following their 1-1 draw.
Finland, who will be England’s opponents in the first match of the Women’s Euro 2005, had thus gone down in all four of their Algarve Cup encounters.
At the group stage Mexico had lost 5-0 to England, who also ran up 4-0 victories over both Northern Ireland and Portugal.
The host nation and Northern Ireland therefore played out the 11th place tie and Portugal came out on top, winning 3-1 to avenge their 2-1 group defeat by the Irish.