International warm-up matches are due to take place for a number of our Blues players over the coming weeks, all in final preparation for the Women’s World Cup taking place between 7 June and 7 July in France.
England, who have recently moved up to third in the FIFA World rankings, begin their ‘Road to France Series’ by hosting Canada in front of a sold-out crowd at Manchester City’s Academy Stadium on Friday (7.15pm kick-off). Four days later, they will take on Spain on Tuesday 9 April at Swindon Town FC (7pm kick-off).
After a short break in international action, UEFA Euro 2017 runners up Denmark will be the next test for the Lionesses at Walsall FC on Saturday 25 May (1pm kick-off). The final match of the series for England consists of our Ali Riley and her New Zealand side travelling to the South Coast at Brighton’s American Express Stadium on Saturday 1 June (1pm kick-off).
The Lionesses’ head coach, Phil Neville’s 25-player squad consists of our captain Karen Carney, our vice-captain Millie Bright and goalkeeper Carly Telford. Fran Kirby met up with the England squad on Sunday but following assessment, it was decided she returned to Chelsea Women, taking a long-term approach to her injury management with a view to the World Cup.
Scotland and Erin Cuthbert are due to welcome South American nations Chile and Brazil this Friday and Monday, while Sophie Ingle and her Wales team face Czech Republic on Thursday.
Swedish defensive trio, Magdalena Eriksson, Jonna Andersson and Hedvig Lindahl are set to meet Ann-Katrin Berger’s Germany on Saturday, followed by Austria three days later (Tuesday 9 April).
Second-place Germany will also play seventh place Japan on Tuesday. Another fixture lined up for the Swedes will take place on the final day of May when they meet Blues and South Korea midfielder Ji So-Yun. Ji and her side also play Iceland twice in a space of three days.
Further action from our European Blues include Ramona Bachmann’s Switzerland coming up against Adelina Engman’s Finland on Friday. On Tuesday, our Swiss striker and her team take on Slovakia, while Engman will play Poland.
Norway, captained by Maren Mjelde and including Maria Thorisdottir, also take part in a friendly against team-mate Ali Riley and New Zealand on Tuesday 9 April. The Kiwis also have the challenge of travelling to the United States on Friday 17 May, prior to their finale friendly against the Lionesses.
Jess Carter is also due to feature in international action as she has gone away with the Lionesses’ Under-21s to compete in the annual La Manga tournament against France, Norway and Sweden.