Today at 7pm Eastern time in Canada (midnight GMT), Hope Powell and the England
Today at 7pm Eastern time in Canada (midnight GMT), Hope Powell and the England Women's team will kick off the second match of their three-game tour of North America, with the Head Coach expecting it to be 'physical'...
The sides have only ever met once before when England emerged 3-2 victors at the 1995 World Cup in Sweden. Two goals from Gillian Coultard and one from the now newly appointed Fulham Ladies manager - Marieanne Spacey - helped the Three Lions to the quarter-finals.
Recent form however points favourably to the hosts in Montreal later today, namely due to the burgeoning talent that has progressed from the squad that reached the Final of the 2002 FIFA Under-19 World Championship, which also took place in Canada.
En route to the final - where the Canadians eventually lost to the USA - England were trounced 6-2 in Edmonton by the hosts, and today's England squad contains five players that experienced this defeat.
Toni-Anne Wayne, Leanne Champ, Laura Bassett, Kelly McDougall and Ellen Maggs are all itching to get a chance to pit themselves once more against their conquerors, and took part last night in a vigorous training session at today's venue, the Catlogna Soccerplexe. The Soccerplexe is a municipal ground that seats only 3,000 spectators and boasts a rubber based synthetic grass surface - a new experience for many of the England squad.
With temperatures still expected to be in the high seventies this evening but without the suffocating humidity of Alabama, England Head Coach Hope Powell told TheFA.com: "Conditions will certainly be more favourable this time, but Canada have come on leaps and bounds since we last played them.
"Not only have they qualified for the last three World Cup Finals, they also contain a number of players who regularly play in the WUSA League - the most competitive and only professional women's league in the world. Traditionally the Canadian sides are physical, direct and like the US will have a group of highly experienced players amongst their ranks."
As promised at the beginning of the tour, Hope intends to give her whole squad an opportunity to gain further invaluable international experience.
Last night's training session showed a number of possible changes, with the likes of Sue Smith, Rachel Brown and Amanda Barr hoping to come into the reckoning for a place in the starting eleven, while Arsenal's Ellen Maggs, pictured, will be hoping to reach of milestone of her own.
Ellen may look young - she only has size three feet - but out on the training ground there is no doubting her hunger and commitment to challenge the experienced Karen Walker for a place up front. After starting the 2002-03 season with two goals in the televised season curtain raiser in The FA Community Shield, Ellen has succumbed to a number of niggling injuries.
At England Under-19 level her goals helped England reach the semi-finals of the European Championships and quarter-final of the World Cup in 2002, scoring an absolute screamer of a goal in the 6-2 defeat against tomorrow's opponents. Were she to get onto the pitch tonight, it would be her first full international appearance, finishing a frustrating season on a high.
This evening's game also give the squad a chance to move on from Saturday's opening defeat of the tour.
"An hour after Saturday's game we were hurting, because our performance did not warrant a 6-0 scoreline," explained Powell. "You have to hold your hands up and give credit to the US because they are a formidable team, but we all relish the chance to pit our wits against the best teams in the world.
"Today's game helps to create a tournament atmosphere where the players have had to get one game out of their system, and then move onto the next challenge quickly.
"Together with Brent Hills - my Assistant - and Keith Rees - Goalkeeping Coach - we have analysed numerous moments in Saturday's game and will go through some of the key ones for each player before this evening's game, so that we hold on to the positives, and learn from some of the negatives."
One fact that can’t be disputed so far was the gulf in international experience between England and the USA, and Hope says that the continued development of women's football back home is crucial to helping bridge this gap.
"In North America, the domestic league is hugely competitive with quality players littered throughout every team; therefore the step up in quality - after tight games for six months of the year - to international football is not so great.
"In England however, there are still really only four or five teams at present that can stretch each other, and with the game still growing, some of our younger players then find that the likes of USA, Germany and the Scandinavian countries all suddenly possess a 'competitive advantage' over them."
The player pathway being developed by Hope and The FA she believes will soon demonstrate further success, with more players emerging from the Under 17s and Under 19s to the senior squad. The next 24 hours will prove to be another vital step along a steep the learning curve for many of England's players.
A full match report from Montreal will be available tomorrow on TheFA.com, and before tonight's game, we will also be bringing you an exclusive interview with the latest England debutant in-waiting, Ellen Maggs.
by Alex Stone in Montreal