Westfield Matildas: Your guide to the 2018 Algarve Cup

The Westfield Matildas will be attempting to win the Algarve Cup for the first time when the prestigious tournament gets underway in Portugal this week.

Australia finished fifth in 1999 and fourth last year, ensuring there is plenty of motivation to sound another warning to the football world.

Here is what you need to know ahead of the 2018 edition of the long-running contest.


The 12 invited nations are split into three groups of four for a standard trio of round-robin games.

The two best group winners then advance to the final to determine the overall champion, while the 10 remaining teams pair off into one-off 'placement matches'.

The Westfield Matildas topped their group in 2017 but accrued fewer points than Canada (Group A) and Spain (Group B), meaning they contested the third-place placement match.

Emily van Egmond
Australia lost out on penalties to Denmark last year.


Australia meet four-time winners Norway, China PR and hosts Portugal in Group A.

Group B features two top-10 nations in Canada and Sweden, and is rounded out by Korea Republic and Russia.

Japan and European champions Netherlands are likely to battle for top spot in a tough Group C that also includes Denmark and Iceland.

Title-holders Spain will not be back to defend their crown.

Ellie Carpenter
Ellie Carpenter scored the winner against China in 2017.


All matches are held across a week-long period beginning Thursday morning (AEDT).

The Westfield Matildas are in action against Norway on the opening day (5:30am AEDT), before taking on Portugal on Saturday morning (2:00am AEDT) and China PR on Tuesday morning (8:00am AEDT).

Placement matches are all set to be held next Thursday, 8 March (AEDT).


As well as seeing how uncapped pair Emily Condon and Rachel Lowe fare in international football, Australians fans have the opportunity to scout opposition some opposition players that may pop up again at France 2019.

Ada Hegerberg's absence means Norway will need plenty from captain Maren Mjelde, the adaptable Chelsea midfielder with over 120 caps to her name.

Canberra United forward Elise Thorsnes, who scored against Australia at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, is a more familiar threat having netted seven times throughout the latest Westfield W-League season.

Portugal's hopes will be pinned on skipper Claudia Neto, a dynamo in the middle of the park who plays her club football in Sweden.

And though Australia brushed China PR aside in November's twin friendlies, they were given a reminder of Ren Guixin's abilities when she opened the scoring and almost grabbed a second after half-time in Geelong.

Elise Thorsnes
Norway's Elise Thorsnes has intel on Australia.