Newly-crowned European champions England are set to face World Cup holders the United States at Wembley in October, the Football Association has announced.
The Lionesses will return to the scene of Sunday’s Euro 2022 triumph to take on the world number one-ranked US on October 7, subject to having secured World Cup qualification in September.
Sarina Wiegman’s side are back in action after winning the Euros with World Cup qualifiers against Austria away on September 3 and then Luxembourg at Stoke’s bet365 Stadium three days later.
And with a surge in demand over the last few days, more than 20,000 tickets have been sold for the latter fixture in the first sale window.
England currently top their World Cup qualifying group with a maximum 24 points from eight matches, and will seal qualification for next year’s showpiece in Australia and New Zealand with a draw against second-placed Austria.
The FA said that in the event of England having to play in the World Cup play-offs in October, it and the United States’ federation would work to agree a new date for the fixture.
The sides have never met at Wembley before and last faced each other when England, then under Phil Neville, were beaten 2-0 in the SheBelieves Cup in 2020.
The States also won 2-1 in the semi-final of the 2019 World Cup in France, Alex Morgan scoring the winner and celebrating by miming drinking a cup of tea as Neville’s side missed out on a major trophy on that occasion.
Wiegman said: “It is really exciting to have the chance to play the US at Wembley if we can make sure of qualification for the World Cup.
“It would be the perfect game for our squad to meet another strong team after so many tough games in the Euros.
“It is good we enjoy the moment we are in after this wonderful summer, but we know we still have to work to do to take the next step forward.
“As a team, we take nothing for granted with our goal of reaching the World Cup and whoever we play at home in October it will be special to have another Wembley fixture.
“After the positive experiences we have had this summer, it will be great to welcome as many fans as possible so that we can say thanks again for their incredible support.”
A crowd of 87,192 – the biggest-ever attendance for a Euros match, men’s or women’s – saw the Lionesses beat Germany 2-1 after extra time at Wembley at the weekend as they secured the first major trophy in their history.
The first official England Women fixture, a 3-2 defeat of Scotland in Greenock, took place on November 18, 1972.
And regarding the plan for October, the FA said that “with the occasion marking the 50th anniversary…the aim is to invite every living Lioness to the national stadium, and also to acknowledge those across previous generations who paved the way”.
Last month the FA said it had been working on a project to recognise and celebrate former internationals that would coincide with the anniversary.
It also committed to awarding players from the 1972 team with bespoke caps. A number of former players from that team had expressed disappointment in a string of interviews with the i newspaper, with a specific focus on no official caps being handed out to the group.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Super League is already feeling the Lionesses effect with clubs reporting a surge in ticket sales ahead of the big kick-off on the weekend of September 10-11.
Wembley matchwinner Chloe Kelly’s club Manchester City have seen a huge uptake in ticket sales for their opening match, against Beth Mead’s Arsenal at the Academy Stadium, even though the fixture is still five weeks away.
The previous record attendance for the stadium, 5,371, was against Manchester United last season. The ground’s capacity is 7,000 but it was reduced due to Covid restrictions, and this time it is expected to be a sell-out.
City, who also have England heroes including Keira Walsh, Ellen White and Lauren Hemp among their ranks, have sold a record number of season tickets, which were selling well during the Euros and surged again after Sunday’s final.
There is also huge interest in the next derby against United, which is due to be played at the Etihad Stadium, in December.
Chelsea have also confirmed an uplift in ticket sales for their opening match of the season, against West Ham at Stamford Bridge.
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