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Women's Football News
African champions are next test in Euro 2005 preparations
England's next test in their preparations for hosting next summer's UEFA Women's Championship will be against African champions Nigeria on Thursday April 22nd. This friendly international will be played at Reading FC. England last faced Nigeria, who are nicknamed the Super Falcons, at Norwich City in July 2002, losing 1-0 in front of 8,000 fans.
The international, presented in partnership with Nationwide, will take place on Thursday April 22nd 2004, kick-off 7.30pm. The game will again be broadcast live on Sky Sports, this will be England's fourth showing of the season on Sky, the most times they have appeared over one season.
England Coach Hope Powell said: "Nigeria proved a hard test for us 18 months ago when we lost 1-0 to them at Norwich. Since then they have been to the World Cup, so they have had the chance of playing competitively against the best teams in the world. It is our ambition to continually pit ourselves against strong teams as we prepare for the European Championship next June. We have qualified automatically, but our young squad still needs a high standard of competition to continue to improve.
"The England team are going into this game off the back of a well-deserved victory against Denmark and the players will definitely be motivated to continue their fine run of form of late. It's good to be playing at yet another new stadium to showcase the best of women's football to a new audience. I can assure the fans that they're going to see a competitive, entertaining game featuring players who have played professionally in America as well as the stars of our domestic league.
"It's also great to have our fourth home international match of the season broadcast live on Sky Sports. Sky have been a great advocate of women's football and we're glad of their continued support to promote the women's game to a wider audience."
England Women are currently placed 13th in the FIFA World Rankings, while Nigeria are ranked in 24th place, despite having participated in every World Cup to date. The two sides have only had two meetings before, England winning the first clash at the 1995 World Cup 3-2 and losing 0-1 at Norwich City FC on 23rd July 2002.
England have played three home internationals so far this season, beating Australia 1-0 at Burnley in September, Scotland 5-0 at Preston in November and Denmark 2-0 last month at Portsmouth FC. Denmark are ranked five places above England and they recently lost just 1-0 to former world champions USA.
Reading's Chairman John Madejski added: "We are delighted to be hosting an England Women's Senior international match and it also provides another opportunity for the Football Association to use our facilities to stage a match at Madejski Stadium.
"Women's football is growing in this country, as it is domestically in Reading, and we are proud to raise its profile even further with this exciting match against Nigeria."
Tickets for the match, priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions, are set to go on sale next Monday 29th March. There will be special group rates for local clubs and schools. For further details check out www.TheFA.com.
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