Saturday, March 20, 2010

20 March 1994 - It's Also An Anagram For "A Gal Cup Rev"

On 20 March 1994, Norway and the United States, who had met in the 1991 Women's World Cup Final, met again in the Final of the first Algarve Cup. This time, Norway--who had lost that World Cup to the US--took their revenge with a 1-0 win.

The Algarve Cup, played in Algarve, Portugal, is an international invitational women's tournament played every year, joining the World Cup and the Olympics as the top three international women's competitions. Six teams participated in the first Cup: the two finalists, plus Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and hosts Portugal.

The teams were separated into two groups of three and played a round robin. The group winners advanced directly to the final, while the runners-up played each other for third place and the two bottom teams met in the fifth-place match. Both Norway and the United States topped their groups with two wins each. Norway rolled through their group with stunning ease, beating Finland 6-0 and Denmark 6-0, while the US dispatched Portugal 5-0, then narrowly beat Sweden 1-0.

Like the previous World Cup Final, which the US won 2-1, the first Algarve Cup Final was a closely-contested match. The two sides battled to a scoreless stalemate through the first half and most of the second before Norway's Ann Kristin ("Anka") Aarønes (pictured) scored the late match-winner, beating US keeper Brianna Scurry in the 84th minute.

The teams have met several more times in the Cup, including a dramatic third-place match in the 1995 Algarve Cup, with Norway winning on penalty kicks.

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