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Last Updated: Monday, 18 December 2006, 18:55 GMT
England line up Scotland friendly
By Tony Leighton

Hope Powell
Powell would relish the chance of facing Scotland at Wembley
England have lined up a friendly against Scotland at Wembley as part of their build-up to the 2007 Women's World Cup finals in China.

The fixture has been pencilled in for 11 March but that could change as there is still no confirmed date for the re-opening of the national stadium.

Coach Hope Powell said: "It would be fantastic for players and supporters.

"If it comes off it will be a great occasion and will help in preparing for big games at the World Cup."

Powell, who herself played twice for England at Wembley, added: "Playing on the hallowed turf was a tremendous experience for me and I'd love the current team to get the chance to play there."

Preparations for the tournament will include taking part in January's China Cup, giving England vital experience of the environment in which they will play in September.

In the four-team friendly competition, to be played during the last week of the month, Powell's team will face Germany, America and China.

Powell said: "It's important that the girls experience the travel, the climate, the conditions and atmosphere at stadiums, even the food we're likely to eat when we get to China for the finals.

We've done really well to qualify for the finals, but I don't want us to settle for just going to China.
Hope Powell

"Playing in the China Cup will help us achieve that and these games, plus a number of others that will put us up against some top quality opponents, should really benefit the players."

Other highlights of the build-up schedule include meetings on home soil with Russia and Holland in March and a 2009 European Championships qualifier against Northern Ireland on 13 May.

More games are yet to be confirmed, while the pre-China programme will also include training camps in April, July and August.

Powell is not too happy about having the first of her team's Euro qualifiers planted in the middle of her carefully worked out schedule.

But she will only have the Northern Irish to deal with as the rest of the qualifiers - against the Czech Republic, Spain and Belarus - will be delayed until after the World Cup.

She said: "I don't think it's sensible to play Euro qualifiers in the build-up to a World Cup, but we just have to get on with it and we'll obviously be aiming to follow our qualification for China by reaching the Euro finals.

"Our focus right now is on the World Cup, though. We've done really well, against the expectations of most pundits, to qualify for the finals, but I don't want us to settle for just going to China.

"I want us to make a real impression, and hopefully with all these games behind us when we get there that's exactly what we'll do."

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