Birmingham is the place to be in September if you're a fan of England with both
Birmingham is the place to be in September if you're a fan of England with both the men's and women's team coming to town. Sven's men play Portugal in a friendly at Villa Park on September 7th, then Hope Powell's England Women will play a World Cup play-off at Birmingham City's St Andrews on Sunday 22nd September.
The Women's team is hoping that local England fans will turn out in force to cheer them on in what is a vital qualifier as they try to progress to the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup Finals in China, where they could come up against Mia Hamm's USA side.
England left-back Rachel Unitt, who plays professionally with Fulham, is from Walsall and is hoping for a good turnout. "This is a really important game for England and we need to get a win to give us a good chance of qualifying for the World Cup.
"We've had some really great support and attendances at our games this year and I hope the people of the Midlands will come and cheer us on."
England finished second in their qualifying group behind European champions Germany, but victories against Holland and Portugal meant that England reached the four-team play-off. There is just a fifth and final qualifying place left with England, Iceland, Denmark and France battling to reach the Finals.
England will face Iceland away on Monday 16th September in the National Stadium in Reykjavik, before playing their opponents at St Andrews in the away leg six days later.
Leeds United midfielder Sue Smith has capped her recent comeback from injury to earn a recall to the England senior squad for the World Cup semi-final play-offs against Iceland. Sue has not been available for call-up since tearing ligaments in a training accident in February.
The two-time International Player Of The Year Award winner will be a welcome addition to Hope Powell's squad, as England look to qualify for the World Cup Finals, which will be held in China in September 2003. Smith has 38 caps and has scored 11 goals, and was a key part of the squad that qualified for and competed in the 2001 European Championship Finals.
Smith excepted, the squad is unchanged from that initially named to face Nigeria in the home friendly defeat last month. However, former team captain Tara Proctor has had to withdraw from the away leg due to a family illness, but should be available for the home game.
Squad in full:
Pauline COPE - Charlton Athletic
Leanne HALL - Leeds United
Rachel BROWN - University of Pittsburgh USA
Casey STONEY - Charlton Athletic
Kirsty PEALLING - Arsenal
Rachel McARTHUR - Fulham
Faye WHITE - Arsenal
Mary PHILLIP - Fulham
Rachel UNITT - Fulham
Julie FLETCHER - Arsenal
Leanne CHAMP - Arsenal
Karen BURKE - Leeds United
Kristy MOORE - Fulham
Katie CHAPMAN - Fulham
Fara WILLIAMS - Charlton Athletic
Vicky EXLEY - Doncaster Belles
Samantha BRITTON - Leeds United
Carly HUNT - Doncaster Belles
Rachel YANKEY - Fulham
Tara PROCTOR - Brighton & Hove Albion
Sue SMITH - Leeds United
Karen WALKER - Doncaster Belles
Amanda BARR - Charlton Athletic
Una NWAJEI - Fulham
Jody HANDLEY - Doncaster Belles
Tickets for the home game against Iceland are now on sale from the Birmingham City ticket hotline 0121 772 0101. Entry will be priced at £3 for adults and £1 for children before the day, with prices going up to £5/£1 on matchday. There will also be a special family ticket, priced at £5, for up to two adults and three children. Special group booking rates are available to clubs and schools wishing to attend the game. To request a booking form or for more information, please call 020 8563 9147.