The battle for places in the 18-man British women’s football team for this summer’s Olympics will intensify as England take on France on Friday.
The friendly in Caen, Normandy is England’s penultimate game before interim head coach Hege Riise names his side of the GB squad next month, and competition for places is widespread with 26 players in the current Lionesses squad, as well as several contenders from the other house. nations.
England are playing on foreign soil for the first time in over a year and the game is Riise’s second in charge, following Northern Ireland’s 6-0 defeat in February. The 1995 World Cup winner said: “It’s been a long time since we had a good competition. Northern Ireland was off to a good start, now in the next two games we are playing stronger opponents and it will be [show us] our character. “
The Lionesses will be without captain Steph Houghton due to injury (Achilles) and the great Norwegian Riise has already decided who will be her alternate captain against France and against Canada on Tuesday, but did not reveal her selection.
France is ranked third in the world and Canada eighth, with England sixth. Manchester City and England forward Ellen White said: “The opposition we face is more of a top tier opposition, they are fantastic teams. I am always so privileged to be able to travel to play France which is a phenomenal team.
“The goal is to be in contention to go to the Olympics, which is amazing, so everyone is doing everything they can both for their club and here. [in the camp] and it’s really competitive.
Asked about the choice of her strongest XI or her experience at Caen, Riise added: “Both. I feel like we also have strong players coming off the bench. We have a good team in France. I will see more players during the game.
“Good results always bring confidence, but we want to see what we see in training – a fast counterattack style and defense with a lot of heart.
“The players know the competition [for the Olympics] but I still want them to be relaxed and play their best, as a starter or if they come as a game-changer. I want them to be relaxed, to have fun – that’s what we all love. Get on the field and play. “