Following on from a successful Cyprus Cup campaign, Hope Powell’s England side will take on Norway in an international friendly at Shrewsbury Town’s ProStar Stadium on St. George’s Day.
The Three Lions return to Shrewsbury for the first time since November 2007 when a Karen Carney goal secured victory over Spain in a Euro 2009 Qualifier, and this forthcoming game is sure to provide them with a stern test ahead of the Finals in Finland.
Norway are currently ranked sixth in the FIFA world rankings, four places above England and Powell will also pit her charges against Iceland and Denmark before the Euros commence.
In terms of preparation, the England Head Coach knows only too well the importance of these friendly matches.
"It was a great opportunity to get more tournament exposure and experience in the Cyprus Cup," she reflected. "And it was pleasing to win the Final in the manner we did, against Canada, who on two previous meetings had beaten us 4-0. All the players got a run-out and it was particularly pleasing that two of our younger squad members, Jess Clarke and Dan Buet, both made significant contributions against Scotland.
"We now prepare for Norway who are clearly one of the leading nations in Women's football, having reached the semi-final of the World Cup 2007," she continued.
"It will again provide us with quality opposition that will test the character and endeavour of the squad, and to play in front of a home crowd at Shrewsbury will be a great opportunity for the team to put on a good performance."
Rob Bickerton, Shrewsbury Town’s Managing Director, expressed his pride at the ProStar Stadium being selected for international duty for the third time in under two years.
"We are once again delighted to have been asked to stage a high-profile England international," he said.
"Having hosted an England Women’s European Championship Qualifier in 2007 and an England U19 v Holland match in September, we are honoured to have been chosen to host another prestigious international match in Shrewsbury.
"Hopefully we can attract another bumper crowd and encourage the whole of Shropshire to get behind Hope Powell’s side."
England lifted the Cyprus Cup in Larnaca last week, easing to a 6-0 victory over South Africa in the opening group game before gamely battling back to earn a 2-2 draw with France.
A 3-0 win over Scotland booked England a place in the Final, where they came from a goal down to defeat Canada 3-1.