ALBUFEIRA, Portugal, Feb. 27 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese women's football team foresees a tough match against host nation Portugal in the opening of the Algarve Cup.
The 25th edition of the Algarve Cup will see 24 matches played in over five stadiums in southern Portugal. The first match will be China taking on Portugal on Wednesday afternoon.
The Algarve Cup is a global invitational tournament for national teams in women's football. Held annually in the south of Portugal since 1994, it is one of the most prestigious events in women's football.
"Last time China played Portugal, China lost. So we have a tough match against the home team," Chinese head coach Sigurdur Ragnar Eyjolfsson said on Tuesday.
In an interview with Xinhua, Eyjolfsson said the team had a very difficult time as they lost their first four matches since he took over. However the team has managed to turn this around, winning their next eight matches.
"I enjoy the working relationship I have with the CFA (Chinese Football Association). I'm grateful for their trust and [for hiring] me for this job. Hopefully I can repay them by doing well," he said.
Eyjolfsson says the team aims "to win every game we play," adding that it is also necessary "to have realistic expectations of the team."
For their part, Portugal, has taken the cautious approach.
"I think it will be a very hard, very tough game because China is a very good team, with very good players," Francisco Neto, head coach of Portugal, told Xinhua.
Both teams see the Algarve Cup as warm-ups to more important dates later in the year.
"We use this tournament wisely to see the last things we need to see from the players, to be able to select the best squad for the Asian Cup," Eyjolfsson said.
Portugal also wishes to use the occasion to improve in order to be "fit and ready" for the qualifying rounds of the FIFA Women's World Cup, Neto said.
Among this year's 12 participating teams, 10 have a top 20 FIFA ranking, two have already won women's world championships (Japan and Norway) and three have already celebrated a European crown (Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands).