US women schedule match against England at Wembley

Sports

The U.S. women’s national team is set to face England at Wembley Stadium, the first of two European matches as the United States prepares to defend its title at the 2023 World Cup.

But there’s a catch: The Oct. 7 match is contingent on England securing its spot in the World Cup in qualifying games in September.

England is coming off a 2-1 overtime victory Sunday over Germany in the women’s European Championships final. The match at Wembley drew a tournament-record 87,192 fans.

“To get a chance to play the European champions in London at Wembley is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often, so we’re all thankful that the match could be arranged, and we’ll be hoping that England finish their qualifying campaign in September,” U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski said in a statement Tuesday. “This is exactly the kind of match we need at exactly the right time in our World Cup preparations so we can test ourselves against a very talented England team.”

The last U.S. appearance at Wembley was a 2-1 victory over Japan in the 2012 Olympic final.

The Lionesses need a draw or win against Austria on Sept. 3 to qualify for the World Cup next summer in Australia and New Zealand. If they don’t get it done then, they’ll need a victory at home over Luxembourg on Sept. 6.

“It is really exciting to have the chance to play the U.S. at Wembley if we can make sure of qualification for the World Cup,” England coach Sarina Wiegman said. “It would be the perfect game for our squad to meet another strong team after so many tough games in the Euros. It is good we enjoy the moment we are in after this wonderful summer, but we know we still have to work to do to take the next step forward.”

England’s federation announced the game early to allow fans to make travel plans. Should England fail to qualify in September, ticketholders will be offered a refund and the U.S. will work with England for a future match.

The other U.S. match in Europe during the October international window was not announced.

The United States qualified for the World Cup last month at the CONCACAF W Championship in Monterrey, Mexico. The Americans, who won the final over Canada, also secured a spot in the 2024 Olympics in France.

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