The Football Association is delighted to announce that England Women will face I
The Football Association is delighted to announce that England Women will face Italy in their latest international friendly, to be played away next month. The match will be played as part of the 55th World Tournament of Viareggio, the prestigious annual men's football tournament.
England will be keen to gain their first victory against the Italians for 15 years when they play in Viareggio, near Pisa, on Tuesday 25th February at 3.00pm.
The Italy game will be England's first since losing the Play-Off Final for the last European qualifying place for the 2003 FIFA World Cup against France. Italy also missed out on qualifying for the Finals, finishing third in their qualifying group.
National Women's Coach Hope Powell OBE said: "The Italy game will provide us with an excellent opportunity to test our young players as we start our preparations for Euro 2005. We do not have a fully competitive fixture for the next two years after qualifying for the Euros as hosts, so it is important to use a friendly programme for our younger players to gain the much-needed experience. If you look at the best teams in the world, they are full of players who have 40+ caps, while some of the girls we used in our World Cup campaign just had a handful.
"We are looking to play the best teams in the world over the coming year and this kind of opposition will provide a vital test for our players. After a successful winter training camp in La Manga, I am looking forward to meeting up with the players over the coming few months to help them develop on the international stage."
England last played Italy in May 1999, where they lost 4-1 prior to the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup, in which Italy participated. Out of 19 meetings between the two countries, England have won just three - the last being a 2-1 away win in July 1988.
Powell will announce her squad for the fixture on Friday on TheFA.com/women