SheBelieves Cup: When is it? How to watch? Who will star?

By Emma SandersBBC Sport in Orlando
Megan Rapinoe, Ellen White, Saki Kumagai and Jennifer Hermoso
England will face the USA, Japan and Spain in America
SheBelieves Cup 2020
Dates: 5-11 March Venues: Exploria Stadium (Orlando), Red Bull Arena (New Jersey), Toyota Stadium (Frisco)
Coverage: TV coverage of every England game on BBC Two/BBC Four and BBC iPlayer. Live text coverage on the BBC website.

England women will start the defence of their SheBelieves Cup title in the USA on Thursday when they take on the world champions.

Phil Neville's side will play hosts USA, Spain and Japan in a round-robin format at the invitational tournament.

You can watch all of England's games across the BBC TV and online, and all the other games will be streamed live on the BBC Sport website.

It is the fifth consecutive year England are taking part, while they won the competition for the first time in 2019.

Spain, ranked 13th in the world, are making their debut, while 2011 world champions Japan are returning for a second time.

England's opening match is against the USA in Orlando in a repeat of the World Cup semi-final, before they travel to New Jersey and Frisco to play Japan and Spain respectively.

How to watch England in the SheBelieves Cup

  • Thursday, 5 March - USA v England (BBC Two, BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 23:45 GMT)
  • Sunday, 8 March - Japan v England (BBC Four, BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 19:00 GMT)
  • Wednesday, 11 March - England v Spain (BBC Four, BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 21:00 GMT)

What other matches can you watch on the BBC?

  • Thursday, 5 March - Spain v Japan (Red Button, BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 21:05 GMT)
  • Sunday, 8 March - USA v Spain (BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 2050 GMT)
  • Wednesday, 11 March - USA v Japan (Red Button, BBC iPlayer & BBC Sport website, 2350 GMT)

What is the SheBelieves Cup?

The SheBelieves Cup is an invitational tournament held in the USA every year around February or March. It includes four teams, playing each other once across three different venues in a league format. The highest ranked team after the three games wins the tournament. England are the reigning champions.

When is the SheBelieves Cup?

The 2020 SheBelieves Cup will run from Thursday, 5 March until Wednesday, 11 March.

SheBelieves Cup fixtures

Which World Cup stars will be there?

Alex Morgan
USA's Alex Morgan won the Silver Boot at the World Cup last summer

England coach Neville has named a young squad, including seven players who were bronze medallists for England Under-20s at their World Cup in 2018.

Uncapped West Ham defender Grace Fisk and North Carolina Tar Heels forward Alessia Russo are among them, but England will be without Arsenal forward Beth Mead and Ballon d'Or runner-up Lucy Bronze because of injury.

Fifteen of the 23 players were part of the squad who reached the semi-finals of the World Cup last summer, with the addition of Arsenal midfielder Jordan Nobbs who missed the tournament after rupturing an anterior cruciate ligament.

England's World Cup top scorer Ellen White, Lyon winger Nikita Parris and captain Steph Houghton are some of the big names included.

Elsewhere, the USA will be without star striker Alex Morgan, who is due to give birth in April, but field a squad containing most of their World Cup-winning stars including Ballon d'Or recipient Megan Rapinoe, US Player of the Year Julie Ertz, former World Player of the Year Carli Lloyd and talented midfielder Rose Lavelle.

Retaining the SheBelieves Cup will give England momentum - White

Barcelona forward Jennifer Hermoso and Atletico Madrid captain Amanda Sampedro are part of a strong Spanish squad, while Lyon midfielder Saki Kumagai will line up for Japan.

Are England in good form?

Since losing to the USA at the World Cup, England have won just two of their last seven matches, including defeats by lower-ranked sides Brazil, Norway and Sweden.

They were held to a 3-3 draw in Belgium back in August and narrowly picked up victories on friendly trips to the Czech Republic and Portugal.

Neville described England's poor form as a "period of suffering" but insisted he was not feeling "vulnerable" about his position as manager.

It will be England's first game in four months when they face the USA in Orlando but have they escaped that period of suffering?

England have to go and win the SheBelieves Cup again - Neville

Neville has spoken of "a two-year plan" to prepare for Euro 2021 and while England go to the SheBelieves as defending champions, it is ultimately a friendly competition.

His squad selection is a clear look ahead to the future and England have not had much preparation for the event.

In contrast, the USA are continuing on from their World Cup success. They have won six successive matches and have not conceded a single goal.

Spain are ranked seven places below England, while Japan are a squad in transition but have picked up five wins on the bounce, keeping clean sheets in all of them.

How might it influence the Olympics?

After the SheBelieves Cup, there are no more England fixtures before the Olympics in July.

Neville will manage a Team GB squad in Japan consisting of players from Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England.

So will success for his English players enhance Team GB's chances in Tokyo?

"A little bit because it gives you confidence and belief but ultimately you have got to peak at major tournaments," said Neville.

"Last year when we went to the SheBelieves, there was probably more pressure because everyone thought 'win the SheBelieves, win the World Cup'.

"So if we win the SheBelieves does that signal our intent to win the Olympics? Well, we won the SheBelieves last year and we didn't win the World Cup."

But Neville also said he had "stopped all of his staff talking about the Olympics" and wants the focus to be purely on the SheBelieves.

That's likely to be the opposite for Olympic hosts Japan, who will be using the event as preparation for the summer, while the USA are fresh from beating rivals Canada in a qualifying final for Tokyo.