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Lionesses set to face Austria and Italy in first games of 2024

Austria and Italy will be the opposition for England’s opening fixtures of 2024. TheLionesses will travel to southern Spain for a warm weather training camp and willplay two internationals at the Estadio Nuevo Mirador in Algeciras.

With UEFA Women’s EURO 2025 qualifying to start in April, the year will beginagainst Austria on Friday 23 February (7.45pm GMT), broadcast live on ITV1. Themeeting with Italy will take place on Tuesday 27 February (5pm GMT), broadcast liveon ITV4.

Sarina Wiegman’s senior squad will be joined by Emma Coates’ WU23s group. TheYoung Lionesses’ camp will see them play two fixtures, against Spain on Thursday22 February (11am GMT) at the Marbella Football Centre before taking on theNetherlands on Monday 26 February (12pm GMT) at the Banus Football Centre. TheWU23s enjoyed an unbeaten 2023, finishing the year with a 1-1 draw with Spain inDecember.

Sarina Wiegman said: “This will be our kick-off to get ready for the EURO qualifyingcampaign beginning in April, so there’s no time to waste in February. Heading toSpain with hopefully warmer weather and great facilities will allow us to maximiseevery minute together. Playing two games against good opposition in Austria andItaly, should be excellent preparation for another big year ahead.

“They are two good and different opponents who will want to start the year strongtoo, so it will be important to come together again as a team and use these games toprepare for the qualification matches starting in April.

“We are very proud of our pathway and how our development teams are progressingand I’m really pleased that Emma’s WU23’s squad can travel with us to Spain. It’snot something I have had the opportunity to do during my time here with Englandand it will bring many opportunities to collaborate together.”

Emma Coates said: “The ultimate goal of the England pathway is to develop a cropof players who are ready-made for the senior team. We have a really exciting groupof young players coming through our system and this camp will be an incredibleexperience for our WU23s to get a feel for what the senior environment is like toprepare them for the future.

“Having a camp like this reflects how closely we work with Sarina and her coachingstaff. We regularly meet to discuss how our players are developing and who may beready to make the move across, with the aim of more Young Lionesses becomingSenior Lionesses in 2024.”

Tickets for the senior fixtures will go on sale this week with more information on howto purchase to follow via the England Football website and Lionesses channels.England sealed qualification for the 2023 FIFA World Cup with their 2-0 away winover Austria when the two teams last met in September 2023. They last played theItalians in February 2023, with a 2-1 victory in Coventry putting them on their way tomore Arnold Clark Cup silverware.

The Lionesses will have more clarity on their 2024 schedule following the UEFAWomen’s EURO 2025 qualifying draw on Tuesday 5 March. The qualification phasewill decide the 15 teams, alongside the hosts, who will travel to Switzerland to takepart in the tournament.

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