England will face Olympic champions Canada ahead of the 2023 Women’s World Cup in what could be the Lionesses’ only pre-tournament friendly.
- England to face Canada on July 14
- Could be Lionesses only game before World Cup
- Row with ECA means camp date may be delayed
WHAT HAPPENED? The fixture, announced by Canada Soccer on Thursday, will be played on July 14 in a behind-closed-doors setting on Australia’s Sunshine Coast. It could be England’s only match before the Women’s World Cup because of an ongoing row between the national teams and the European Club Association (ECA).
THE BIGGER PICTURE: England boss Sarina Wiegman wanted to have all members of her squad in camp by June 19 but some clubs are not willing to make their players available until June 23, a date agreed by the ECA and FIFA because of player welfare. It has put the Lionesses’ schedule in jeopardy, with a send-off game at home not possible if the date doesn’t change.
WHAT THEY SAID?: “If we start on the 19th we have enough days to get ready for such a game,” Wiegman said last month, when announcing her squad for the tournament. “If we start later then the players are even longer out from football and then you have too short a time to get ready for a fixture. I just hope we can do that and play that fixture.”
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WHAT NEXT? Negotiations are still ongoing between the national teams, the ECA and clubs but time is running out for that June 23 date to change. The 2023 Women’s World Cup kicks off on July 20, with England to face Haiti in their opening group game two days later.