The 2020 Algarve Cup, scheduled for March 4th through March 11th in Portugal, is one of three international tournaments in women's football, along with the Cyprus Cup and SheBelieves Cup, played each year in late February and/or early March. While the SheBelieves Cup is slowly stealing some of the thunder of the other two tournaments (largely due to the presence of the United States and England), the Algarve Cup is the oldest of the “mini World Cups”, having been contested since 1994.
By virtue of having fewer top flight leagues, women's football has the luxury of hosting prestigious tournaments like these on a yearly basis, and at least during the 2019 cycle, there was a correlation between success in these “mini World Cups”and the actual World Cup, as the United States, England, Italy and Norway each used their trips to the finals in those tournaments to propel them to the knockout rounds and beyond in last summer's World Cup.
With Italy set to kick off their Algarve Cup quest on March 4th against hosts Portugal, national team head coach Milena Bertolini unveiled her 23-woman roster earlier today, one that includes Roma's Elisa Bartoli and Manuela Giugliano.
#Nazionale— Nazionale Femminile di Calcio (@AzzurreFIGC) February 20, 2020
L’Italia riparte dall’Algarve Cup: dopo l’infortunio rientra Salvai, tornano anche Bonetti e Schroffenegger
➡️ L'articolo: https://t.co/fqsHKw4dDZ
L’esordio il 4 marzo contro le padrone di casa del Portogallo.
Ecco le convocate dalla Ct Bertolini⤵️#VivoAzzurro pic.twitter.com/PI3Ow7ShDa
At this point, both Giugliano and Bartoli are virtual locks for any major international tournament, but it seems like Annamaria Serturini's lack of playing time at the club level this year has temporarily knocked her down a peg with the Azzurre, while Agnese Bonfantini's recent goal binge wasn't enough to convince Bertolini.
In some ways, Serturini and Bonfantini are victims of Italy's depth at the forward spots, but Roma's young forwards have outperformed both Juventus’ Barbara Bonansea and Inter Milan's Stefania Tarenzi in Serie A this season, so we can only assume Bertolini favored the experience of those two veterans above the young Roma duo.
Denmark, Sweden and Norway are also competing in the cup, but none of Amalie Thestrup (Denmark), Petronella Ekroth (Sweden) or Andrine Hegerberg (Norway) made their country's respective squads.
Italy will kick off play against Portugal on March 4th. Don't miss it, the Azzurre are a joy to watch!