England’s European Championship-winning women’s football team will be playing at Ashton Gate in Bristol next year for the first time in eight years as part of an international tournament across the country.
Ashton Gate will host England’s Lionesses’ match against Belgium in the Arnold Clark Cup as part of a final matchday double header on Wednesday, February 22. It will be the final tournament for Beth Mead and co before the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and the tournament will see England, Belgium, Italy and South Korea play in venues across the country.
It’s the first time England’s women’s team have played at Ashton Gate since a 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory played in torrential rain back in 2015, and the Lionesses return to BS3 as European Champions and with a huge boom in interest in the women’s game both internationally and domestically.
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Ashton Gate’s managing director Mark Kelly is hoping for a sell-out 27,000-strong crowd to see England take on Belgium. “We are delighted to be able to welcome the Lionesses back to Ashton Gate,” said Mr Kelly. “It has been incredible to watch the Lionesses’ journey and we’ve followed their success since hosting them here back in 2015. During that time, we completed our stadium redevelopment and we’ve been proud to host a number of high-profile international sporting and entertainment acts.
“Most recently, having the Red Roses play here, in their final warm-up match ahead of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand was incredibly poignant. To see them now about to compete in another World Cup Final is truly inspiring. I look forward to us playing our part in the Lionesses’ World Cup preparations and hopefully the perfect send-off, in front of what I’m sure will be another record crowd.”
Sarina Wiegman’s England side will be defending the four-team round-robin Arnold Clark Cup, which they won earlier this year in a tussle with Germany, Spain and Canada. The second edition in February 2023 will once again feature three double-header matchdays on February 16, 19 and 22, with the last taking place at Ashton Gate.
South Korea will take on Italy in a match played at Ashton Gate before the England game, and the trophy will be presented to the tournament’s winning team in Bristol that night. Fans will be able to watch both games on one ticket, with prices starting from £10 for adults, or a fiver for concessions.
Sarina Wiegman, England Senior Women’s Head Coach, said: “Winning the 2022 Arnold Clark Cup was a big achievement and gave us momentum and confidence heading into the Euros. It’s great to have the opportunity to defend this title in front of our fans.
“Everything we now do is about being ready for the World Cup. Facing three different good opposition, each with a different style of play and playing three matches in ten days is the perfect preparation for the challenges that await us this summer. We hope these games excite the fans and they continue to give us such amazing support.”
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