Belgium Women vs England Women preview: Lionesses look to build on World Cup
Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images

After their fourth-place finish at the World Cup, the Lionesses face their first friendly match. With England hosting the 2021 Euros, Phil Neville's side will be without any qualification matches before the Olympics or the Euros meaning they will need to try and find as many friendly matches as possible to keep up fitness.

A total of over 60,000 tickets have already been sold for November's match against Germany, and there is a lot of support throughout the nation for the team. 

This Thursday's match will be the first meeting between the two sides since a September 2016 UEFA Euro qualifier at the Den Dreef Stadium in which England won 2-0 - thanks to goals from Karen Carney and Nikita Parris.

Injury crisis

A number of the players who were influential in the World Cup campaign have been ruled out of the match due to injury. Karen Bardsley and striker Ellen White were both not even called up to play - manager Phil Neville stating that the Manchester City duo could be out for 'a couple of camps.' Jill Scott is also being rested.

On Thursday, Fran Kirby and Alex Greenwood both pulled out of the training camp at St. George‘s Park - and were replaced by Hannah Blundell and Fara Williams.

Williams is the highest capped Lioness of all time, playing 170 times since her debut over 17 years ago. 35-years-old, the midfielder signed a new contract with WSL side Reading in May of this year.

Missing White, this tournament could have been an opportunity for Fran Kirby to provide the element of firepower to the national side that she has done so well for Chelsea. However, for England, she plays in a role much less advanced than that in domestic competition, with neither of the country‘s last two bosses playing her as a striker.

Ones to watch

Belgium - Tessa Wullaert

Top scorer of the national team, Wullaert is one which will be known by many of the England squad. She signed for WSL side Manchester City last season.

The 5ft 6in striker has scored 41 in her 81 appearances with the Red Flames, a very impressive record in International Football.

England - Jodie Taylor

The national side‘s number nine has been head-to-head with White for the position of striker in the squad.

The 33-year-old only picked up 156 minutes at the World Cup, but these friendlies will give the manager the chance to experiment before the Euros.

She has been strong with her current side of Reign FC in the NWSL, and will hopefully continue that form on the international stage.

Predicted Lineups

Belgium: 4-3-3

Evrard, Jacques, Deloose, De Neve, Philtjens, Biesmans, De Caigny, Missipo, Van de Velde, Wullaert, Cayman 

England - 4-2-3-1

Earps, Bronze, Bright, Houghton, Stokes, Walsh, Daly, Parris, England, Mead, Taylor

Where to watch

The Lionesses are once again on free-to-air TV for UK viewers.

Coverage is on BBC Two as well as BBC Sport online starting from 6:15PM BST, with kick-off fifteen minutes later.

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