Impetus’ Ben Gilby hears from England head coach Sarina Wiegman as her team’s final opponents for this historic year are announced (29/9/22).
Above: Norway’s Ada Hegerberg is one of the top stars that the Lionesses will face in the November international window. Photo: Olympique Lyonnais.
England’s final matches of 2023 will see them meet fellow FIFA Women’s World Cup finalists Japan and Norway in Murcia, Spain this November.
The Lionesses are to spend the final international window of the year at the Pinatar Arena football centre as they look to close out a positive year on a high. It all began with victory in the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup in February, followed by the historic UEFA Women’s Euros success in July, and will next see the United States and the Czech Republic travel to England for matches in October.
The first of the November fixtures in Spain will be Japan on Friday 11 November (KO TBC), followed by a meeting with Norway, who Sarina Wiegman’s squad famously demolished during the Euros group stage, on Tuesday 15 November (KO TBC).
England last faced Japan in the 2020 edition of the SheBelieves Cup in the United States with England coming out on top with a 1-0 victory in New Jersey. Norway were drawn in Group A alongside England at this summer’s Euros with an historic 8-0 victory in Brighton securing the Lionesses’ progression to the quarter-final. The fixture will see the return of Hege Riise who took charge of England on an interim basis in 2021 before leading Team GB to the last eight of the Tokyo Olympics.
Speaking about the selection of her team’s final opponents for the year, England head coach Sarina Wiegman said: “I am really pleased we can continue to test ourselves against strong opposition, especially as we are fully focused on our preparation for the World Cup.
“Japan are one of the best teams in Asia and offer a different style of play to what we are used to. Norway had a difficult summer, however, they qualified directly for the World Cup and I am confident they will bounce back. They have always proven to be a strong opponent, and the staff and players will look forward to welcoming Hege again too.
“With both teams wanting to make a good impression as they build towards a major tournament, it will be a great opportunity to see where we stand. Furthermore, I hope a change of scenery and good climate for that time of year can contribute to keeping the players fresh after what has been an exciting and at the same time intense year for all.”
Both opponents have qualified for next summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, with the final tournament draw to be held on Sunday 22nd October hosted in Auckland.