Soccer-England women to play first competitive game at Wembley in October

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Fans gather ahead of Italy v England - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - July 10, 2021 General view of people outside Wembley stadium ahead of the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

(Reuters) - The England women's team will play their first competitive match at Wembley Stadium when they host Northern Ireland in a World Cup qualifier in October, the Football Association (FA) said on Wednesday.

Wembley has previously staged two Lionesses friendly internationals against Germany in 2014 and 2019.

England will now make their competitive debut at the national stadium on Oct. 23 as they bid to qualify for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

"Having the chance for our England team to play again at Wembley in a competitive fixture is so important," Sue Campbell, the FA's director of women's football, said in a statement.

"From a performance point of view, it will give us the chance to get close to a big-game occasion of the kind we hope our squad will experience at next summer's home UEFA Euro."

Sarina Wiegman, currently in charge of the Netherlands women's team at the Olympics, will start her new job as England manager in September and will be in the dugout for the match at Wembley.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)

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