'Wembley match highlights progress of Women's game'

Saturday 22 Nov 2014
Mark Sampson has lost only one of his 12 matches in charge of England

Head coach Mark Sampson believes England Women’s first match at the new Wembley proves how much the women’s game has developed in this country.

The Three Lions will entertain European champions Germany under the arch on Sunday.

It will be the team’s maiden appearance at the national stadium since it re-opened in 2007 – and a record 55,000 people are expected to attend this historic encounter.

England Women v Germany

Breast Cancer Care International
3pm, Sunday 23 November
Wembley Stadium connected by EE
Live on BBC Two

Sampson said: “It’s a fantastic occasion, one for us all to look forward to and get excited by.

“We are playing at the Home of Football against rivals who have given us some great games in both men’s and [women’s] football over the years.

“It shows how far the women’s game has come. There are so many people that need to take credit for that. This is not just the work of this team.

"This is the work of a huge group of people in the women’s football community who have developed the game over a number of years.

“The fact that we are in this position now is great credit to so many people involved in the game. Hopefully we can make it a real showcase of women’s football.”

A mouth-watering friendly it may be, but Sampson knows this match is still just England’s first warm-up outing as they build-up towards next summer's World Cup.

They qualified in style, winning all ten matches and conceding only one goal.

He knows Germany will be a much more difficult proposition. They won the World Cup in 2003 and 2007 and triumphed in the last six European Championships.

They are second in the FIFA rankings, behind USA, but many people view Silvia Neid’s side as the best in the world.

Sampson talks Germany and Wembley

Sampson said of Sunday’s opponents: “They’re not bad! You know coming into a tournament that the Germans will be there or thereabouts.

“For us that’s where we want to be. We want to be going into major tournaments, playing against the likes of Germany and trying to win.

“It’s a good test for us and we will be treating it as a proper game. We won’t be going into it as a friendly match. We’ll be going there to try and perform as best we can and try and get the result for our supporters.

“We’re excited by it, obviously, but we need to make sure that we prepare right for it and we treat it as a game which is another chance for us to get better.”

He continued: “Players have got huge belief in where they can get to. They are looking forward to the challenge as much as the occasion.

“I’m sure as young girls they always dreamt about the chance to play for their country at Wembley. Hopefully they can enjoy it first and foremost and produce a big performance.

“They want to go there, show what good players they are, how far this team has come in a short space of time and hopefully produce a performance that is befitting of the event.”

By Glenn Lavery at St. George's Park