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USA v. Germany: Lineups, schedule, how to watch on TV and online

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The SheBelieves Cup begins.

2017 Tournament Of Nations - Australia v United States Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

The SheBelieves Cup — a battle between four of the top-ranked teams in the world — kicks off on Thursday, and the U.S. Women’s National Team will face Germany in the first round. That match begins at 4:00 PM PT on ESPN2. Seattle Reign FC players Megan Rapinoe and Allie Long have been named to the 23-player U.S. roster for the tournament. The early match features new Reign FC striker Jodie Taylor and England facing off against France at 1:00 PM PT on WatchESPN.

Rapinoe had a standout year for both club and country in 2017, earning USWNT Player of the Year and NWSL MVP nominations. She remains one of the most creative players for the United States, with the ability to change the game in just one move. Long is still fighting for a consistent role on the national team after working her way onto the roster for the 2016 Olympics. This year, she has a lot to prove if she wants to end up on a plane to France for the 2019 World Cup.

The U.S. has won both prior meetings against Germany at the SheBelieves Cup: 2-1 in 2016 and 1-0 in 2017. In last year’s SheBelieves Cup, Germany lost to the U.S. 1-0, tied France 0-0, and beat England 1-0. Since that tournament, the team has gone 8-2-1, with wins against Canada (2-1), Brazil (3-1) and France (4-0 in an end-of-the-year friendly).

However, Germany lost to Denmark in the knockout stage of the UEFA Euro tournament, thanks to a late goal from new Reign FC defender Theresa Nielsen. The loss was only Germany’s third in a Euro tournament since 1993. Germany also lost to Iceland in a World Cup qualifying match on October 20, their first loss in qualifying since 1998.

With additional World Cup qualifying matches coming up in April, Germany and England will likely use the SheBelieves Cup to finalize their starting lineups for those critical matches (France, as host of the World Cup, have already qualified). At the same time, like the United States, Germany’s new head coach Steffi Jones called in a number of young players for this tournament.

The United States, meanwhile, lost both of the tournaments it hosted in 2017: the SheBelieves Cup and Tournament of Nations (against Australia, Brazil, and Japan). The team was dismantled by France last spring when head coach Jill Ellis rolled out a three-person backline that was anchored by midfielder Allie Long, who had little experience in the centerback position. Those experiments appear to be over, but questions remain about the best formation for the U.S. and the best midfield combination to dictate the game and adjust to opponent tactics.

The U.S. also still has to prove it can break down a team that throws a lot of bodies into defense. Much of that task falls to the midfield, where there are a lot of strong players who have yet to prove they can all work together. The U.S. will be without Becky Sauerbrunn, Tobin Heath, Rose Lavelle, and Sam Mewis, who are all being rested due to injuries.

This the start of a busy year for the U.S., who also have qualifiers for the World Cup in October. Getting off on the right foot will be critical for the team’s momentum.

How to Watch

England v. France

Time: Thursday, March 1, 1:00 PM PT
Location: MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
TV: None
Online: WatchESPN

USA v. Germany

Time: Thursday, March 1, 4:00 PM PT
Location: MAPFRE Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
TV: ESPN2
Online: WatchESPN

This is your SheBelieves Cup matchday 1 gamethread. Watch and discuss with us.