By Alex Stone.
Last weekend Hope made a 48 hour trip to the west coast of America to see World Cup group opponents Japan take on the might of the USA in San Francisco, whilst on Thursday, Hope will be in Gera, Germany to see the reigning holders take on England's Euro 2009 group opponents the Czech Republic.
Goals from Abby Wambach, Shannon Boxx, and own goal and the indefatigable Kristine Lilly gave the USA a 4-1 win over Japan in front of 11,290 spectators, with the US possessing all their renowned attributes.
"Greg Ryan's side could well be a quarter final opponent so it was good to see them as well as Japan" Hope told TheFA.com "and both sides played pretty much as I'd expected."
"Japan [who England play first in Shanghai on 11 September] were technically very good, very quick and had lots of players who were equally comfortable spraying passes with right or left feet.
"Their players liked to play a short, tidy passing game and there's a lot of movement in the final third which provide different attacking options, but they can mix it up and go direct too, so defenders have to keep their concentration" added Hope.
"The scoreline in a lot of ways was quite accurate, with the USA outmuscling Japan at times and catching them on the break for a couple of goals.
"All in all, it was a very professional performance from the side that will be lots of people's favourites in China."
On Germany's 4-0 defeat of Denmark, Hope emitted a knowing laugh. "A lot of people were saying that Germany had peaked, were a spent force and wouldn't be in a position to defend their title, but you right them off at your peril.
"They have so much experience in their ranks, a top Coach and we know that when we meet in Shanghai [on 14 September] we'll have to be right on top of our game.
"I've said before that the best thing that could happen to us after qualifying for the World Cup was what happened in Aalen [a 5-1 defeat to Germany].
"Our players, if they needed any reminding saw how good they have to be to match a team of that calibre, and our performance against them in January was much better.
"Games between the two sides are always special, whether it's in the men's or women's game, but as a player, these are the games that you train hour upon hour for, and on Thursday I'll get another chance to check them out."
England's final squad of 21 will be named at a press conference at team sponsor Nationwide's Headquarters in Swindon on Wednesday 8 August at 2pm.
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images