England women set for Wembley return with World Cup qualifier

London (AFP) –


England will return to Wembley for their 2023 Women's World Cup qualifier against Northern Ireland on October 23, it was announced Wednesday.

It will be the first competitive fixture for the Lionesses at the national stadium since the north London venue reopened in 2007, although the ground has hosted two friendlies against Germany in 2014 and 2019.

England last met Northern Ireland at St George's Park in February for their first international since the coronavirus pandemic, with the hosts enjoying a comfortable 6-0 win.

Sue Campbell, director of women's football at England's governing Football Association, said: "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 home UEFA Euro.

"Having had such a challenging 18 months, the day will mean so much to our players and of course we hope the chance to play in front of so many fans will be something truly special."

Campbell added: "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."

Northern Ireland manager Kenny Shiels 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."