England women's football team to play Northern Ireland in first official game for almost a year

Coach Hege Riise will lead England Lionesses in the game against Northern Ireland in February, with Canada fixture lined up for April, as part of preparations for the UEFA Women's EURO tournament in 2022

By James Pratt ·

The England women's national football team will face local rivals Northern Ireland on 23rd February, the English FA have announced.

It'll be the first competitive game in almost a year Lionesses, due to cancellations because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Assistant coach Hege Riise, who won a World Cup and Olympic gold as a player with Norway, and helped coach USA to the Olympic title, will lead the team after taking interim charge following Phil Neville's departure.

The English will also play a friendly international with Canada on Tuesday 13th April. Both games are due to take place in England and without spectators present.

The two matches are seen as the start of preparations for the UEFA Women's EURO Championships in 2022.

New Head Coach Sarina Wiegman and assistant Arjan Veurink will take over the England team in September ahead of that tournament, which takes place in England, and Northern Ireland have also qualified for.

England's recent performances also helped ensure Great Britain's women qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in 2021.