England manager Sarina Wiegman has named her 25-player squad for the April international break, currently the last scheduled games for the Lionesses before the 2023 World Cup.
England successfully retained the Arnold Clark Cup in February and remain unbeaten in 29 games (W25, D4) under Wiegman, who is now a three-time Best FIFA Women's Coach award winner.
The Lionesses will now face Brazil and Australia as World Cup preparations continue apace.
“We are getting closer to the World Cup and I can’t think of two better games to assess our progress. After these games, there will be less than three months until we fly to the tournament and we must make every second on and off the pitch count," Wiegman said.
“For us as a technical staff this will be the last chance to see the players within our England environment before we come together for the final preparation phase in June. And these two matches will be two real tests to see where we are at.
“This is a major new trophy and to compete for it at a sold-out Wembley is another special moment, both for us as a team but also for our fans. We will never take these occasions for granted and I want to see how we perform against two teams that will be hoping to challenge for the World Cup.”
There are England recalls for goalkeeper Hannah Hampton and defenders Esme Morgan and Lucy Parker - the latter was called up up for the first time in October but had to withdraw through injury.
Lotte Wubben-Moy, Katie Zelem, Ebony Salmon and the injured Emily Ramsey all drop out of the squad that was selected for the Arnold Clark Cup.
Lionesses squad – April 2023
Goalkeepers: Mary Earps (Man Utd), Hannah Hampton (Aston Villa), Sandy MacIver (Man City), Ellie Roebuck (Man City)
Defenders: Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Barcelona), Jess Carter (Chelsea), Niamh Charles (Chelsea), Alex Greenwood (Man City), Maya Le Tissier (Man Utd), Esme Morgan (Man City), Lucy Parker (West Ham), Leah Williamson (Arsenal)
Midfielders: Laura Coombs (Man City), Jordan Nobbs (Aston Villa), Georgia Stanway (Bayern Munich), Ella Toone (Man Utd), Keira Walsh (Barcelona)
Forwards: Rachel Daly (Aston Villa), Lauren Hemp (Man City), Lauren James (Chelsea), Chloe Kelly (Man City), Jess Park (Everton), Alessia Russo (Man Utd), Katie Robinson (Brighton)
When are the Lionesses playing in April?
England are playing twice during the April international break, both times in London.
The first of the two games will be held at Wembley on 6 April and is a first ever women’s Finalissima, a one-off intercontinental match between the reigning European champions and the reigning South American champions – in this case, Brazil, after they won the 2022 Copa America Femenina.
The second game, a normal international friendly, is scheduled five days later and will see World Cup co-hosts Australia visit the Lionesses at the Brentford Community Stadium. Like England, the Matildas are among the favourites to win the World Cup and it should provide a strong test for both in addition to raising money for the Alzheimer's Society - an FA charity partner.
- 6 April 2023 – England vs Brazil – Wembley Stadium – 19:45 (BST)
- 11 April 2023 – England vs Australia – Brentford Community Stadium – 19:45 (BST)
Will England win the 2023 Women’s World Cup?
England have a great chance to win the World Cup for the first time.
Winning Euro 2022 was only the start of the journey rather than the culmination and Sarina Wiegman, who is 29 games unbeaten as manager and the newly crowned Best FIFA Women’s Coach for the third time, has a hungry and still relatively young squad at her disposal.
The experience and belief from actually winning a major tournament also means so much more than a team that hasn’t – like Spain or France, for example.
England have proven that they can go toe to toe with the best and come out on top, seeing off Spain, Sweden and Germany in the Euro knockout stages to lift the trophy. They have also beaten the United States since the summer to really underline their credentials.
The Lionesses will expect to win a favourable group containing Denmark and China, neither of whom are elite in the way they once were, and first-time qualifiers Haiti. Because of what they have already done, they won’t fear anyone in the knockout bracket either, even if that means facing the likes of Australia, Canada, Germany or Sweden before getting to the semi-finals.