England v USA
A Women’s International Match
8.06pm, Saturday 2 April 2011
The Matchroom Stadium, Leyton Orient FC
Live on FATV
Tickets are priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for concessions
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In preparation for this summer’s FIFA Women’s World Cup Finals, Hope Powell’s England team will test themselves against two-time World Champions USA in an April friendly at The Matchroom Stadium, home of Leyton Orient FC.
It will be the first meeting between the sides since the 2007 World Cup quarter-final which USA won 3-0. It will also be the first time USA have ever played a game in this country.
England have been drawn in Group B for Germany 2011 alongside Japan, Mexico and New Zealand and National Coach Hope Powell is relishing a testing warm-up match against the No.1 ranked side in women’s football.
“This game will provide us with a great opportunity to test ourselves against one of the best nations in women’s football,” said Powell.
“We expect it to be a very challenging game, which is exactly what we need with a World Cup so close. People may argue that the USA are not the force that they were, but I would absolutely disagree with that. They are still a force to be reckoned with and I know, having gone through a difficult qualification process, they are more determined than ever to do well at the World Cup.
“They were quite keen to play us which is a bit of an honour really as it proves we are worthy opponents. The last time we played them was in 2007 and it will be good to see how far we have come since then, against top-quality opposition.”
Pia Sundhage’s side lifted the World Cup in 1991 and 1999 and finished third at China 2007. They have also collected Olympic gold on three occasions - in 1996, 2004 and 2008 – but Powell believes the recent migration of English players to the States, including Kelly Smith and Alex Scott (both currently with Boston Breakers), will stand England in good stead in east London.
“USA have got a great history and have won two World Cups, and I suppose you are always a bit fearful of the unknown, but because we have had a few girls who have played over there recently, they are now quite relaxed about the prospect of facing them, rather than being tense and nervous about it.
“We know more about them and I believe that the American players now have a bit more respect for England and our players, having played with and against them.”
And Powell is also happy to be playing such a prestigious match in her home town.
“We’ve played at Leyton Orient twice before (against Finland and Ukraine, both in 2000) and we had a couple of great crowds.
“On a personal level, it’s great to be playing in London. It’s on a Saturday night and I’m sure Orient will be fantastic hosts, as they have been previously.”
photo Getty Images
photo Getty Images