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HomeWomen's FootballEngland Lionesses find their replacement fixtures for the Arnold Clark Cup

England Lionesses find their replacement fixtures for the Arnold Clark Cup

England Lionesses will play two friendlies against Austria and Italy in February, during a warm-weather training camp in Spain, replacing their canceled Arnold Clark Cup.

The 2024 edition of the invitational Arnold Clark Cup, which England has hosted and won twice since 2022, was canceled in December due to a scheduling conflict with the inaugural UEFA Nations League finals, for which the Lionesses narrowly missed qualification.

To fill the gap, matches against Austria and Italy have been scheduled, making them England’s first opponents of 2024. Qualifiers for the 2025 European Championship are set to begin from April to the autumn.

Both games will take place at Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras, Spain, with England facing Austria on Friday, February 23 (7:45 pm GMT) and Italy on Tuesday, February 27 (5:00 pm GMT), broadcast live on ITV1 and ITV4, respectively.

Of the two opponents, manager Sarina Wiegman said: “This will be our kick-off to get ready for the EURO qualifying campaign beginning in April, so there’s no time to waste in February.

“They are two good and different opponents who will want to start the year strong too, so it will be important to come together again as a team and use these games to prepare for the qualification matches starting in April.”

Lionesses have struggled against European rivals lately

In recent months, the Lionesses have faced challenges against European teams, experiencing losses to Belgium and the Netherlands early on, leading to difficulties in the Nations League.

Despite securing a 3-2 victory over the Dutch and a 6-0 win over Scotland in December, England exited the competition early. The year 2023 ended on a disappointing note, with the team crashing out of the Nations League in the Group Stage, resulting in the forfeiture of an opportunity to qualify for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.

The senior squad, along with Emma Coates’ Under-23s, will undergo warm weather training in Spain, facing Austria and Italy in two friendlies during February to prepare for the upcoming challenges, including the qualifiers for the 2025 European Championship.

“We are very proud of our pathway and how our development teams are progressing
and I’m really pleased that Emma’s WU23’s squad can travel with us to Spain,”
Wiegman added.

“It’s not something I have had the opportunity to do during my time here with England
and it will bring many opportunities to collaborate together.”

Ethan Dempsey
Ethan Dempsey
Ethan is a lifelong football fan. When he is not obsessing over the Premier League games, Ethan likes to read fantasy tomes, watch football documentaries and waste hours upon hours on video games.
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