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Japan withdraws from SheBelieves Cup, replaced by Argentina

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Japanese federation withdraws over COVID-19 concerns.

2020 SheBelieves Cup - United States v Japan Photo by Wilf Thorne/ISI Photos/Getty Images

Japan has withdrawn from the 2021 SheBelieves Cup, scheduled to take place from February 18 - 24 in Orlando, Florida at Exploria Stadium, due to the ongoing rise in COVID-19 infection rates in Japan. The other three countries, the United States, Brazil, and Canada, will now be joined by Argentina, as announced by U.S. Soccer this morning.

According to the original Sponichi report, the Nadeshiko have been struggling to train and get together for international games during the pandemic and the matches they have scheduled in order to prepare for the Olympics are somewhat in doubt - assuming, of course, the Olympics actually go ahead as planned.

It’s very understandable that any country would opt out of international travel at this time, particularly to travel to Orlando, where cases recently spiked and, as in much of the rest of the country, the local vaccine rollout has been slow and disorganized. Add on to that worries about mutating varieties of coronavirus and rising cases at home, and you can’t blame any federation for being overly cautious.

Updated schedule:

Feb. 18 Brazil vs. Argentina 4 PM ET
Feb. 18 USA vs. Canada 7 PM ET
Feb. 21 USA vs. Brazil 3 PM ET
Feb. 21 Argentina vs. Canada 6 PM ET
Feb. 24 Canada vs. Brazil 4 PM ET
Feb. 24 USA vs. Argentina 7 PM ET

US games will be broadcast on FS1 and TUDN; broadcast options for non-US games are still TBD.