England Women's captain Casey Stoney revels in squad strength ahead of Euro 2013
England captain Casey Stoney says the high calibre of opposition the Lionesses face in their warm-up games will provide the perfect test ahead of next month’s European Championship Finals in Sweden.
Hope Powell’s side drew 1-1 with World Champions Japan at Pirelli Stadium in Burton on Wednesday and they will face the Euros hosts in Uddevalla on Thursday 4 July.
Stoney said: “They are two very tough opponents, two of the best teams in the world.
"Over the course of the two games it will be a great test for all the players and I’m sure Hope will use them to see where players are at, gauge form and fitness, and also give some of those who haven’t got that much experience a little bit more game time.”
Meanwhile, the centre back, who made her England debut against France in 2000, is excited by the quality in the current Three Lions squad.
Fourteen members of Powell’s squad have previously appeared in at least two major tournaments, while five of the younger members helped England win the U19 Euros in 2009.
Stoney added: “In terms of this squad, it’s fantastic to see the names we’ve got up there.
“We’ve got so much experience now and we’ve got young players coming through that are really exciting, so it’s going to be a great tournament.
“I think you have to go into every tournament confident. We’re not stupid and we’re not thinking we haven’t got a tough group. We’ve got a very tough group.
“We’ve got three very difficult teams to play against; Spain, Russia and France are all going to prove a very difficult test for us.”
England, who play all three group games 200km south-west of Stockholm in the town of Linköping, kick-off of their European Championship campaign against Spain on 12 July, before facing Russia and France on 15 and 18 July respectively.