England Women are back in action on Tuesday when they face Canada at Stoke’s bet365 Stadium.
The friendly will be the Lionesses’ third match under interim boss Hege Riise – they beat Northern Ireland 6-0 in February and lost 3-1 away against France on Friday – and their final fixture before the Norwegian names her Great Britain squad for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics.
Here, the PA news agency looks at some of the talking points surrounding the Canada game.
The battle for Olympic selection
Players will certainly be eager to impress Riise in Tuesday’s game, with her 18-strong GB squad to be named next month. She has said the plan has been for “almost every” member of the 26-player England squad to get game time across this double-header of friendlies; 17 featured against France. That included one of four goalkeepers, Ellie Roebuck – Sandy MacIver, Carly Telford and Karen Bardsley are also in the group.
Bronze a doubt
Others who did not play in the France match were Lucy Bronze, Demi Stokes, Georgia Stanway, Ella Toone, Millie Turner and Esme Morgan. The experienced figures of Bronze and Stokes missed out with minor injuries, and Riise has said she is hopeful the latter will be ready to feature “for a few minutes”, while a decision about Bronze was to be made after a training session on Monday. England are currently without the pair’s fellow defender, injured skipper Steph Houghton – Ellen White is captaining in her absence.
A more clinical edge?
Riise has spoken of the “great answers” provided by the France game in terms of “what we need to improve and what has improved” in attack and defence, and highlighted the need to finish chances. While she wants improvement after what was an eighth defeat in 13 matches for England on Friday, Riise said she thinks “we are on a good road going forward.”
There will be a familiar face in the opposition dugout. Canada – joint-eighth in the world rankings, two places lower than England – are managed by Bev Priestman, who was the Lionesses’ assistant boss under Phil Neville. Meanwhile, Riise is being assisted by a former Canada international in Rhian Wilkinson.
Canada’s captain is Christine Sinclair, who last year became the top goalscorer in international football history. The 37-year-old has an incredible record of 186 goals in 296 appearances for her country, and she scored the winner when Canada beat England 1-0 in their last meeting in 2019. It remains to be seen if she plays on Tuesday after coming off early with an injury in Friday’s 3-0 win against Wales.