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England to face Canada and Japan

Monday 4 February 2013 16.07 CET
England beat eventual winners Japan at the 2011 World Cup

England will face Canada and Japan in home friendlies as part of their preparations for UEFA Women's EURO 2013.

Canada, who knocked England coach Hope Powell's Great Britain side out of the Olympic tournament last summer, will visit Rotherham on 7 April. Japan, beaten by England in a group game in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup before recovering to win the trophy, will travel to Burton Upon Trent for a rematch on 26 June.

The games will form part of the Football Association's (FA) 150th anniversary celebrations, along with the UEFA Women's Champions League final at Stamford Bridge on 23 May (for which tickets are on sale) and the UEFA European Women's Under-17 Championship finals centred around Burton from 26 November to 8 December. The Japan match will kick off at 13.45 (local time) on a Wednesday afternoon, giving as many school groups as possible the chance to attend.

England captain Casey Stoney said: "I'm thrilled that we are going to be playing against the world champions in front of hordes of schoolchildren. This will let them experience international football at first hand and get them right behind us before the tournament starts."

Powell, whose squad were named England Team of the Year at Sunday's inaugural Football Association England Awards, added: "I am delighted we can attract the best teams in the world in our anniversary year, and Japan and Canada will give us a different test. We need these games to prepare our players for a very important tournament, both in terms of performance and raising the profile of the women's game."

Before those friendlies, England travel to the Cyprus Women's Cup from 6 to 13 March, with group games against Italy, Scotland and New Zealand. The 2009 EURO runners-up open their finals campaign on 12 July against Spain in Linkoping, where they go on to meet Russia and France in Group C.

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