ENGLAND will take on Northern Ireland at Wembley in October in a qualifying clash for the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
The duel between the sides will be the first competitive game for the Lionesses at the stadium since its reopening in 2007.
The fixture on Saturday 23 October follows two international friendly encounters for England at Wembley against Germany in November of 2014 and 2019.
It will see Kenny Shiels’ Northern Ireland players take on a Lionesses squad to be led by new head coach Sarina Wiegman.
It will also be the first game for England to be played in front of fans at their home venue since their 2-1 friendly loss to Germany in November 2019 watched by 77,786 supporters.
And football authorities hope the return of cheering crowds for the highly anticipated duel at Wembley will give both sides a boost.
Baroness Sue Campbell, the FA’s women’s football director, said: “Having had such a challenging 18 months, the day will mean so much to our players.
“We have missed the supporters and let’s hope that things are heading in the right direction on that front.
“We want Wembley to feel like home for our England team and we want the players to be able to thrive when they run out to play.
“We are at the start of an exciting season and with Sarina Wiegman coming in as head coach, there is every reason for us to be upbeat for the months ahead.
“Having the chance for our England team to play again at Wembley in a competitive fixture is so important.
“From a performance point of view, it will give us the chance to get close to a big-game occasion of the kind we hope our squad will experience at next summer’s Uefa Euros.”
Patrick Nelson, the Irish FA’s chief executive added: “We all recognise Wembley as a world-class venue and this is a great opportunity for Kenny’s (Shiels) team to continue in what we hope will be a successful World Cup qualification campaign.”
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The last friendly match between Northern Ireland and England – currently coached by interim Lionesses boss Hege Riise – ended in a 6-0 loss for Shiels’ players at St George’s Park in February.
It came two months before the squad made history by becoming the first Northern Ireland side to qualify for a major international women’s football contest by reaching the 2022 Euros.
And Shiels greeted the news of a World Cup qualifying duel with England at Wembley with enthusiasm.
The Northern Ireland boss said: “This is an amazing piece of news for the team and my staff and I am excited to take our country to play at the home of football.
“But rest assured we will go to London and be competitive.”
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Tickets for England’s game against Northern Ireland for the general public are set to go on sale from midday on Thursday 5 August.
Prior to their Wembley date with England, Shiels’ players will take on Luxembourg and Latvia in two World Cup qualifiers on September 10 and 16.
Meanwhile, the Lionesses will face North Macedonia on home soil on Friday 17 September before taking on Luxembourg away three days later.
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