England take on Northern Ireland at Wembley on Saturday evening in the third round of Women’s World Cup qualifiers.
Sarina Wiegman’s Lionesses are level on points with Kenny Shiels’ Green and White Army, both teams with two wins out of two so far in Group D.
Here the PA news agency takes a look at some of the talking points ahead of the fixture.
Competitive edge at Wembley
England will host Northern Ireland at Wembley in their first competitive fixture at the stadium since it reopened in 2007, having only played a friendly there against Germany two years ago in front of more than 70,000 fans.
Saturday’s meeting is set to be a test for both teams with each having got their qualifying campaigns off to convincing starts – their four matches producing a combined 26-0 scoreline.
England top the group after thrashing North Macedonia 8-0 and knocking 10 past Luxembourg, while Northern Ireland are third behind Austria – who also have six points – after beating both Luxembourg and Latvia 4-0.
Opportunities for others
England are missing key players including Lucy Bronze and Steph Houghton and the Northern Ireland clash could provide opportunities for others to not only impress Wiegman, but give her a selection headache going forward.
Manchester United duo Katie Zelem and Alessia Russo have been recalled to the England squad, while Aston Villa goalkeeper Hannah Hampton could get a chance between the sticks in place of the injured Ellie Roebuck.
With Houghton and Bronze out, Leah Williamson has been handed the captain’s armband again to lead the side against the Green and White Army and in their next game against Latvia.
The Arsenal defender has captained the team for the two games under Wiegman’s reign so far, and the former Holland boss has praised her for doing “a very good job” in the role.
However the England manager revealed in her pre-game press conference that she is yet to decide on a permanent captain until the return of injured players.
Squad blows for Northern Ireland
Shiels has been handed some big blows ahead of the England clash and will be without defender Rebecca Holloway and forward Simone Magill.
Holloway, who plays for Birmingham, is out with injury while Everton’s Magill withdrew from the squad following a family bereavement.
Rachel McLaren, 19, has been called up to the squad to replace Holloway, and the Crusaders Strikers player can provide options in defence and midfield for Shiels.
There could be a gesture of solidarity from both sides in support of National Women’s Soccer League players in the United States after sexual misconduct allegations were made against coach Paul Riley, who denies the accusations.
Midfielder Demi Vance said that Northern Ireland will “come together in solidarity and support” while Williamson said: “We’ve discussed it as a team and we want to show our solidarity if we can. There’ll be a meeting tomorrow. It has to be official.
“We’ll speak to Northern Ireland and UEFA and the officials and see what can be done.”
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