Newly crowned European champions England will take on world champions USA at Wembley in October, the Football Association has announced.
The Lionesses will return to the scene of their Euro 2022 triumph on Sunday to take on world number one USA on October 7, provided they qualified for the World Cup in September.
Sarina Wiegman’s side are back in action after beating Austria in the European Championship and World Cup qualifiers on 3 September and beating Luxembourg three days later at Stoke’s bet365 stadium.
And with a surge in demand in recent days, more than 20,000 tickets for the latter game were sold in the first sales window.
England currently top their World Cup qualifying group with a maximum of 24 points from eight games and will qualify for next year’s top-flight game in Australia and New Zealand with a draw against second-placed Austria.
The FA said that should England have to play in the World Cup play-offs in October, they and the United States FA would work to agree a new date for the game.
The teams have never met at Wembley before and most recently met when England, then under Phil Neville, were beaten 2-0 in the 2020 SheBelieves Cup.
States also won the semifinals of the 2019 World Cup in France 2-1, Alex Morgan scoring the winning goal and celebrating by sipping a cup of tea as Neville’s side missed a major trophy on the occasion.
Wiegman said: “It’s really exciting to have the chance to play USA at Wembley if we can secure World Cup qualification.
“It would be the perfect game for our team to meet another strong team after so many tough games at the European Championship.
“It’s good that we’re enjoying the moment we’re in after this wonderful summer, but we know we still have work to do to take the next step forward.
“As a team we don’t take anything for granted with our goal of reaching the World Cup and whoever we play at home in October it will be special to have another Wembley game.
“Following the positive experiences we’ve had this summer, it will be great to welcome as many fans as possible to say thank you again for their incredible support.”
In front of a crowd of 87,192 – the largest ever crowd at a EURO match, male or female – at Wembley Stadium over the weekend, the Lionesses saw the Lionesses beat Germany 2-1 after extra time as they clinched their first major trophy.
The English women’s first official game, a 3-2 win over Scotland at Greenock, took place on 18 November 1972.
And in relation to the plan for October, the FA said that “to mark the 50th anniversary… the aim is to invite every living lioness to the national stadium and also to recognize those of previous generations who paved the way”.
Last month the FA said it was working on a project to recognize and celebrate former internationals, which would coincide with the anniversary.
It also undertook to reward players from the 1972 team with custom-made caps. Some former players of that team had expressed their disappointment in a series of interviews with the newspaper i, with particular focus on the fact that no official caps were handed out to the group.
Meanwhile, the Women’s Super League is already feeling the Lionesses effect as clubs head into the big kick-off weekend of 10/11. September report an increase in ticket sales.
Wembley match-winner Chloe Kelly’s club, Manchester City, have seen a huge surge in ticket sales for their opening game against Beth Mead’s Arsenal at Academy Stadium, with the game still five weeks away.
The previous attendance record for the stadium, 5,371, was set against Manchester United last season. The venue’s capacity is 7,000 but has been reduced due to Covid restrictions and this time is expected to sell out.
City, which also boast English heroes such as Keira Walsh, Ellen White and Lauren Hemp, have sold a record number of season tickets, which sold well during the EURO and picked up again after Sunday’s final.
The next derby against United, to be played at the Etihad Stadium in December, is also big.
Chelsea have also confirmed an increase in ticket sales for their season opener against West Ham at Stamford Bridge.