Kristie Mewis Wendie Renard Alexia Putellas Adrianna Franch Houston Dash Lyon Barcelona Portland Thorns splitGetty/Goal

Barcelona, Lyon, Portland Thorns & Houston Dash to play in 2021 Women's International Champions Cup

Barcelona and Lyon will fly to the United States this summer to face the Portland Thorns and the Houston Dash in the 2021 edition of the Women’s International Champions Cup.

Barcelona will head to the tournament, to be held in Portland in August, as the new European champions, having lifted the UEFA Women’s Champions League title for the first time on Sunday, producing one of the competition's all-time great performances to beat Chelsea 4-0.

The Thorns also got their hands on some silverware this month, when they beat Gotham FC on penalties to win the 2021 NWSL Challenge Cup.

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What is the Women’s International Champions Cup?

Like the men’s tournament, which was first established in 2013, the WICC is a summer competition that features some of the best teams in the world. With no women’s edition of the FIFA Club World Cup yet established, it serves as a rare opportunity to see clubs across the globe of women’s soccer compete against each other.

Teams qualify by winning championships. Barcelona qualified by winning the Primera Division last year, Lyon by winning the 2019-20 UWCL and another French league title, the Dash by winning the inaugural Challenge Cup and the Thorns by winning the NWSL Fall Series.

The women’s edition of the ICC was first held in 2018 and was won by the North Carolina Courage, who beat Lyon 1-0 in the final.

In 2019, the French side avenged that defeat, beating the Courage by the same scoreline in the final.

“It’s prestigious,” Ada Hegerberg, the Lyon forward and the first-ever female Ballon d’Or winner, said in her documentary, ‘My name is Ada Hegerberg'. “You get to show who is the best team in the world.”

The tournament was not held in 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, so Lyon will head into this summer’s edition as the reigning champions.

When will the tournament take place?

The four clubs will compete for the WICC between August 18-21, at the Portland Thorns’ home ground of Providence Park, and each team will play two games, both as double-headers.

On August 18, the Thorns and the Dash will face each other and Barcelona will play Lyon, with the two winners progressing to the final. The two teams that lose their opening matches will then compete in the third place game. Both of those fixtures will take place on August 21.

The timing of the tournament means that it will serve as ideal preparation for Barcelona and Lyon as they get ready for their new domestic seasons, which will likely begin in September.

Houston and Portland, meanwhile, will take a short break from NWSL action to partake, with both clubs set to be three months into the 2021 season by that point.

In the United States, all of the WICC games will be broadcast live on ESPN.

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