England's Lionesses to face Portugal in 2023 Women's World Cup send-off friendly as ECA row is resolved

Lucy Bronze England Women 2022Getty
  • England to play Portugal on July 1
  • Will be the Lionesses' World Cup send-off
  • Team flies to Australia on July 5

WHAT HAPPENED? The Football Association announced the fixture on Friday, a day after a behind-closed-doors friendly against Canada on July 14 on Australia's Sunshine Coast was also confirmed. The fixture with Portugal, who have also qualified for this summer's tournament, will be played at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes, with kick-off at 3:15pm BST.

THE BIGGER PICTURE: It's a positive development for England, who were unsure if they would get the chance to play a send-off game because of a row with the European Club Association (ECA).

Some clubs were unwilling to release players for national team camps before June 23, a date agreed by FIFA and the ECA, and Lionesses boss Sarina Wiegman recently said that could mean her team wouldn't play a fixture before flying to Australia on July 5. However, that situation has now been resolved, with the team able to start their camp on June 19.

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Georgia Stanway England Women 2023Getty

Portugal Women's World Cup SquadGetty ImagesSarina Wiegman England Women 2022 Getty

WHAT NEXT? Attention now turns towards that June 19 date, when the England team will gather for the first time as a group for their pre-World Cup preparations. The Lionesses will be one of the favourites to win the tournament, which begins on July 20.