England head coach Sarina Wiegman says she wants to use the three upcoming friendly matches to see what her best team is ahead of the European Championships, starting with Belgium at Molineux on Thursday (Match Betting – England 1/8, draw 11/2, Belgium 14/1).
The Lionessess are hosting the European Championships and are expected to fare strongly as Wiegman coaches them for the first time in a major tournament.
Three years ago, England made it to the World Cup semi-finals but were agonisingly beaten 2-1 by the USA, who eventually went on to win the tournament.
Recent results suggest England (13/10 to win and over 3.5 goals) are in a good place though they have been generally playing against vastly inferior opposition in the World Cup qualifiers.
In February, the 2017 European Championship semi-finalists won the Arnold Clark Cup with a win and two draws and are now ranked eighth in the world.
Wiegman’s side face Austria, Norway, and Northern Ireland in the group stage of the Euros and have friendlies against Belgium, Netherlands, and Switzerland.
On Wednesday, Wiegman named her final 23-strong squad with the biggest surprise being the omission of former captain Steph Houghton, who has been out of action since January with an Achilles injury.
Manchester City midfielder Jill Scott and Chelsea playmaker Fran Kirby have been included despite concerns around fitness and injuries.
Wiegman says she needs to use these three games to assess how her team will line up when they face Austria at Old Trafford on July 6.
“This team is really competitive so we have some hard choices to make. That is another reason as to why we play these three games,” Wiegman said.
“Players need to keep performing. When you play a really good game now you have opportunities. It’s about knowing where the players are and looking at how we can make other scenarios work.”