The U.S. Womenâ€™s National Team kicks off an exhibition tournament when it faces 2011 FIFA Womenâ€™s World Cup champion Japan to open the inaugural Womenâ€™s Kirin Challenge Cup at 5:30 a.m. CT Sunday, April 1, at Yurtec Stadium in Sendai, Japan. The U.S. then faces Brazil in this three-team event at 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday, April 3, at Fukuda Denshi Arena in Chiba, Japan. Both matches will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and ESPN3.
The Kirin Challenge Cup features three of the current top-four teams in FIFAâ€™s Womenâ€™s World Rankings. The U.S. is No. 1 just ahead of second-place Germany. Host Japan is ranked No. 3, and Brazil is ranked fourth ahead of Sweden. In the other Kirin matchup, Japan and Brazil square off at 7 a.m. ET on April 5 at Homes Stadium in Kobe, Japan.
The roster includes St Louis native Becky Sauerbrunn (#4) on defense. The US is 0-2 against the Japanese in the last two games, including the Women’s World Cup Final and more recently, a 0-1 loss at the Algarve Cup in Portugal on March 5th. They followed that loss with a 4-0 win over the #4 FIFA-ranked Swedes (darn it says Ole Olson).