Lionesses announce first fixture for a year with Northern Ireland friendly

England will play Northern Ireland at St. George's Park on 23 February, their first competitive fixture since last year's pre-pandemic SheBelieves Cup. That will be followed by a friendly against Canada on 13 April, with a venue yet to be confirmed.

As hosts, the Lionesses have already secured their place in the rescheduled European Championship next summer so did not have to play qualifying matches last autumn. Various attempts to arrange friendlies, including a trip to Germany, fell through as the second wave of the pandemic surged through Europe.

It will be a first match in charge for interim head coach Hege Riise. Northern Ireland reached the play-offs for the Euros thanks to some impressive performances in their qualifiers. 

"For us to play England is a great achievement and I don't know if that would have happened if we hadn't been so successful," said Northern Ireland boss Kenny Shiels.

"It's testament to how the girls have done and the girls see it as a viable preparation game for them."

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