What is the Algarve Cup?

The Algarve Cup is an annual women’s invitational tournament. It has been held every year in the Algarve region of Portugal since 1994. It is one of the most prominent women’s soccer tournaments, alongside the Women’s World Cup and Women’s Olympic Games.

It has no equivalent to any of the men’s tournaments, given the fact that professional women’s leagues are few and far between, so it is not likely to have any scheduling conflicts.

Currently, only 12 teams are invited, with the top eight competing for the championship. The teams are divided into three groups of four — A, B and C. Group C was added in 2002 to provide second-tier teams with high-level match experience every year.

The current champion is the United States, which has been the most successful team with six titles. Norway comes up second with four, Sweden and China have won two titles each, and the current Women’s World Cup holder, Germany, has won once. USA, Norway and Germany are so far the only nations to win both the FIFA World Cup and the Algarve Cup.

The 2009 Algarve Cup will be held March 4, 6, 9 and 11.