Arnold Clark Cup to provide England ‘perfect preparation’ for World Cup

England will play Italy, South Korea and Belgium when they host a second Arnold Clark Cup in February.

The European champions are set to face South Korea first at Stadium MK on February 16, then the Italians at a yet-to-be-confirmed venue three days later and Belgium at Ashton Gate another three days after that.

The inaugural edition of the round-robin tournament in February this year saw England draw 1-1 with Canada at the Riverside Stadium and 0-0 with Spain at Carrow Road before securing the trophy with a 3-1 victory over Germany at Molineux.

England’s Lauren Hemp (right) in action against Belgium (Nick Potts/PA).
England are set to face Belgium at Ashton Gate on February 22 (Nick Potts/PA).

The Lionesses, who conclude their 2022 fixtures with friendlies in Spain against Japan on Friday and Norway next Tuesday, also have a match at Wembley against Brazil scheduled for April 6 in the build-up to next summer’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

Boss Sarina Wiegman 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 10 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.”

Wiegman’s side have been drawn in World Cup Group D along with Denmark, China and a winner from the play-offs taking place in February. Italy and South Korea will also be at the tournament, but Belgium failed to qualify.