England to return with games against Northern Ireland and Canada

Steph Houghton of England points directions.
Steph Houghton of England during the International Friendly between England Women and Germany Women at Wembley Stadium on November 09, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Northern Ireland will play England in an international friendly on Tuesday 23 February at St George’s Park as Northern Ireland step up preparations for their Euro 2022 playoff fixture. 

With the playoff in April, Kenny Shiels’ side were in need of warm-up games going into that tie and will play the nation who are ranked sixth in the world. 

It will be the first meeting of the two countries since 2008 when England picked up a 2-0 win with goals from Fara Williams and Faye White. 

England appointed Hege Riise as interim boss last month so this will be the Norwegian’s first game in charge of the Lionesses. 

On the fixture Shiels said, “This is a brilliant fixture and a great opportunity for the girls to experience. It’s one we look forward to.

“England have some of the best players in the world and rank right up beside USA, Germany, Netherlands and Norway as the best women’s teams in the world.”

A long awaited return

This fixture marks England’s first competitive fixture in almost a year due to the Covid pandemic and the country not needing to qualify for Euro 2022 as they are the hosts. 

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland are going into the game with four wins in a row under their belt for the first time in their history after beating the Faroe Islands and Belarus back-to-back. 

The match will be available to watch on the BBC iPlayer and the Red Button. 

England have also announced they will play Canada on Tuesday 13 April. 

The match will mark an early return for former England Women’s assistant coach Bev Priestman, who left the Lionesses in October to become the new head coach of Canada Women. 

A venue and kick-off time has still to be confirmed for that encounter.

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