USWNT Will Play UEFA Champion England At Wembley In October (Probably)

The world’s best soccer team is going to Wembley, probably.

The USWNT will play England in a battle of Concacaf and UEFA champions on Friday, Oct. 7, in London, U.S. Soccer announced on Tuesday. The match is contingent on England securing World Cup qualification in September, which it appears likely to do.

USWNT England Friendly Details

  • Date: Oct. 7, 2022
  • Location: Wembley Stadium, London
  • Kickoff Time: 3 p.m. ET
  • TV: FOX

England is currently ranked No. 8 in the world but will surely rise in FIFA’s rankings after winning the European championship with a 2-1 win over Germany on Sunday, also at Wembley. It was a Brandi Chastain-esque moment for the nation, complete with Chloe Kelly ripping off her jersey to celebrate the winning goal, though she later admitted she had other motivations.

The USWNT, ranked No. 1 in the world, is coming off a win at the Concacaf W Championship in Mexico in July, which secured qualification for the 2023 Women’s World Cup and 2024 Olympics. 

The U.S. has struggled to find quality competition since the Olympics ended last summer, playing friendlies against Paraguay (50), South Korea (18), Australia (12), Uzbekistan (46) and Colombia (28), with two games against Nigeria (39) scheduled for September. Even the normally stacked SheBelieves Cup had lower-ranked competition this year with the Czech Republic (25), New Zealand (22) and Iceland (17).

The only team ranked in the Top 10 the USWNT has played since the Olympics was Canada in the final of the Concacaf W Championship, a narrow-but-deserved 1-0 win. Coach Vlatko Andonovski knows his team needs to play better competition to properly prepare to defend its title at next summer’s World Cup.

“To get a chance to play the European champions in London at Wembley is an opportunity that doesn’t come around very often, so we’re all thankful that the match could be arranged, and we’ll be hoping that England finish their qualifying campaign in September,” Andonovski said. “This is exactly the kind of match we need at exactly the right time in our World Cup preparations so we can test ourselves against a very talented England team. I saw England play live at the Euros, and I’m looking forward to an amazing atmosphere at Wembley and another big event for women’s soccer on Oct. 7.”

For this match to take place, England must first qualify for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, which it is almost certain to do. The Lionesses lead UEFA qualifying Group D with 24 points with two matches to play, including one against second-place Austria (19 points). England just needs a draw against No. 21 Austria on Sept. 3 at Stadion Wiener Neustadt to clinch a World Cup berth, which seems plausible given England just beat Austria 1-0 in the Euro opener a month ago. Even if England lost that match, a win (and possibly a draw or defeat) over 113th-ranked Luxembourg at home on Sept. 6 would secure qualification. 

If the Lionesses failed to qualify for the World Cup in September, they would be forced into a playoff in October, which is why they would be unable to play the U.S. The England FA and USSF said they would work together to schedule another date for the two teams to play if this were to occur. (For a list of which teams have qualified for the 2023 Women’s World Cup, click here.)

The English FA is so confident the Lionesses will qualify that tickets for the USWNT-England friendly are already on sale, with fans breaking the ticketing website to purchase them. Fox announced it will broadcast the match nationally on FOX.

The USWNT has played England 18 times with 12 wins and four defeats. They have played twice in England, each side winning once. The U.S. won the last meeting 2-0 in the 2020 SheBelieves Cup; before that was Alex Morgan’s tea-sipping celebration in the 2-1 win in the 2019 Women’s World Cup semifinals. (Morgan has since moved on to larger beverages to celebrate.) The USWNT’s last appearance at Wembley was the 2012 Olympic gold medal match, which it won 2-1 over Japan.

This is arguably England’s greatest side yet, with an enviable combination of youth and experience that make it one of the favorites to win the 2023 World Cup. The Lionesses’ coach, Sarina Wiegman, won the 2017 Euros with her home nation the Netherlands and previously faced the U.S. in the 2019 Women’s World Cup final with her Dutch team. Wiegman was educated in the U.S., having played soccer for the North Carolina Tar Heels alongside the likes of Mia Hamm, Kristine Lilly and Carla Overbeck. 

In addition to playing the U.S., England will also take on CONMEBOL champion Brazil in a women’s Finalissima, though an exact date and location have yet to be determined. England will hope to fare better than UEFA men’s champion Italy, which was smoked 3-0 by Lionel Messi’s Argentina in the men’s Finalissima, also at Wembley.

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