SheBelieves Cup 2019: Who are England women playing & what are their chances?

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Reasons to be excited about the 2019 SheBelieves Cup
SheBelieves Cup live on the BBC
Venues: Philadelphia, Nashville and Tampa Dates: 27 Feb-5 Mar
Coverage: England's matches live on BBC TV, Connected TV, BBC Sport website and app, plus live text commentary and reports

With the Women's World Cup only four months away, England step up their preparations for France with a trip to the United States for the SheBelieves Cup.

The four-team, round-robin tournament runs from 27 February to 5 March and every Lionesses game will be on BBC TV and online.

England, ranked fourth in the world, open against Brazil in Pennsylvania on Wednesday, 27 February (21:00 GMT) before facing World Cup holders United States in Nashville on Saturday, 2 March (21:30) and Japan on Tuesday, 5 March (22:15) in Tampa.

What is the SheBelieves Cup?

The tournament first took place in 2016 as part of US Soccer's #SheBelieves campaign, which aims to inspire women and girls - both inside and outside of sport.

Previously it brought together the top four sides in the Fifa world rankings - USA, Germany, France and England - but, this year, 2011 World Cup winners Japan and Brazil, who are 10th in the rankings, will compete for the trophy.

USA are defending champions and two-time winners. France are the only other side to have lifted it.

England women's team
England were runners-up in the 2018 edition of the tournament

What are England's chances?

The Lionesses finished second in last season's competition after a 4-1 win over France - Phil Neville's first match as head coach - a 2-2 with Germany, and then a 1-0 defeat by the US in the decider.

England, who lost just twice in 12 games in 2018, are likely to face their biggest tests in the final two matches.

They have not played Japan since the World Cup in 2015, when they were knocked out in stoppage time at the semi-final stage. The two teams have been drawn in the same group at this summer's World Cup, along with Scotland and Argentina, so their meeting in Florida will be a good barometer for Neville's side.

England's only win over the US on American soil came in the 2017 edition of the SheBelieves Cup - and they will be considered the underdogs against the top-ranked side in the world.

Which players should I look out for?

USA celebrate winning the World Cup
The USA are three-time Women's World Cup winners

Take your pick from the USA forward line.

Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Carli Lloyd and Megan Rapinoe have 710 caps and 269 international goals between them. All four were part of the USA's World Cup-winning side in 2015 and have made the cut for the 23-strong squad for this tournament.

England will be without Chelsea defender Millie Bright and Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott as both continue their recovery from injury.

But Ellen White, England's top scorer in the tournament, makes the trip along with Women's Ballon d'Or nominees Fran Kirby and Lucy Bronze.

Saki Kumagai is considered one of the best defensive players in the world and will lead out the Japan team, while Brazil are captained by Marta, the veteran forward who was named the best player in the world for the sixth time in 2018.

How can I follow the matches?

Every England game will be shown on BBC TV and on the BBC Sport website and app.

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