The United States and Germany, No. 1 and No. 2 in the world respectively, meet at 6:30 p.m. CT Wednesday (March 9) in the title game of the first SheBelieves Cup. The match, in Boca Raton, Fla.,will be streamed on ESPN3.
Germany claims the tournament title with a draw or a win; the Americans need a win. The two teams are tied atop the standings with six points (both beat France and England), and they’re even on the first tie-breaker, goal differential (both are +2). Germany leads on the second tie-breaker, total goals, having scored one more than Team USA.
The United States and Germany are universally regarded (and regard one another) as fierce rivals. But it’s been a lopsided rivalry. In 30 meetings, the Americans have won 19 games, the Germans have won four, and there have been seven draws. Team USA has outscored Germany 62-29.
The last time Germany beat the Americans was on Oct. 5, 2003, in a World Cup semifinal. The score was 3-0. (See grainy highlight video, starring Hamm, Lilly, Foudy, Scurry and Co., below.) Since then, Team USA has defeated Germany seven times, and the teams have played to five draws.
With one brief interruption, the United States has been No. 1 in the world since March of 2008. In late 2014 and early 2015 — new ratings come out quarterly — Germany took over the top spot, a result of U.S losses to Brazil and France and draws against China, Brazil, and Iceland. (That’s right. Iceland.)
The Americans regained the top spot last July, after beating Germany 2-0 in the semifinals of the 2015 World Cup, then drubbing Japan 5-2 in the title game.
(Not that any of us could forget that game against Japan, but what the hell — let’s watch the highlights one more time anyway.)
The teams have met four times in World Cups:
The winner of each of those matches went on to win the World Cup.
In the eight months since the World Cup, Germany has lost superstar goalkeeper Nadine Angerer (the only keeper in the world on Hope Solo’s level) and superstar striker Celia Sasic (the leading scorer in the World Cup) to retirement.
In addition, Silvia Neid, the German coach since 2005, has announced that she will step down this year.
Alex Morgan’s game-winner in stoppage time against France on Sunday (March 6) was her seventh goal of the year, moving her into a tie with Carli Lloyd and Crystal Dunn for the team lead in 2016.