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What USA must do to win SheBelieves Cup 2019

USA vs Brazil, Japan vs England permutations to win 2019 SheBelieves Cup trophy

March 4, 2019 By Angela Asante
As the 2019 SheBelieves Cup enters its final matchday, it must be noted that the reigning champions do not hold their fate in their hands anymore.

At this stage, the Americans should be disappointed by their results at the 2019 SheBelieves Cup. If the 2-2 draw on Matchday 1 could be more a matter of crediting Japan's relentless mentality than blaming the USWNT's shaky defense, the one on Matchday 2 against England had a lot more negatives than positives.

From falling behind (which is a rare sight for Jill Ellis and her ladies) to failing to add more goals throughout the last 25 minutes of the game; what happened to the unmatchable U.S. team we all know? One player who was trying too hard to make an impact over the weekend was Alex Morgan. The striker's frustration was apparent in her off-target shots.

Brazil, 10th in the world, have proven to be weak and not prepared at all to run a 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup campaign as potential title winners. They were demolished 3-1 in Tennesse on Saturday. Still, it would be a mistake for the U.S. to underestimate the South Americans' desire to restore a bit of pride in the final round of SheBelieves Cup games.

SheBelieves Cup 2019 permutations: how can the USWNT win it?

Here are four mathematical facts ahead of Matchday 3:

- If the 17:15 ET Japan vs England fixture produces a winner, the USWNT will be automatically dethroned as SheBelieves Cup champions even before kicking a ball in Tampa against Brazil.

- For the USA to stand a chance of retaining their title, Japan vs England must end in a draw. This would put them both on 5 points. The U.S. would then need to defeat Brazil by at least three goals. Such a scenario would fire the United States to the top of the standings with 5 (+3), followed by runners-up Japan with 5 (+2) and England with 5 (+1).

- Now, case scenario Japan vs England ends in a draw, what would happen if the Americans defeat Brazil by two goals only? Well, since Japan and USA played out a draw, even the fourth rule (head-to-head) -- after rule 1 (points), rule 2 (goal difference) and rule 3 (goals scored) in the rules of classification would not be enough to decide the winner. At this point, rule 5 (FIFA Ranking) would then come into play to separate the eighth best nation in Women's Football from the queens of the FIFA Women's Ranking. In other words, if the first clash on Matchday 3 of the tournament ends in a draw, the United States would need to beat Brazil by only two goals to claim the cup.

- Worst case scenario for the USWNT: if they succumb to a shocking loss against the Brazilians, they will conclude the tournament in a humiliating manner as rock-bottom occupants.

With all the math done, the home crowd should expect a flamboyant and improved performance by their ladies. However, their approach to that game might largely depend on whether they would still stand a chance to lift the 2019 SheBelieves Cup by the time Japan vs England would be over.

When and where to watch the final games:

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