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‘We need to find a way to beat the best’ – England prepare for France opener

England finished third at the 2015 World Cup in Canada and rose to an all-time high of fourth in the Fifa rankings

England women coach Mark Sampson says his team must find a way to beat the best sides as they prepare to face France in their SheBelieves Cup opener on Wednesday.

England play the world’s top-three teams, with USA and Germany their other opponents in an event where they failed to win last year against the same trio.

“We have to find a way to get over the line,” said Sampson.

“We’re fed up of playing well against the top sides and failing.”

Tournament hosts USA are the World Cup holders, while Germany are European and Olympic champions – and they and France will be among England’s opponents at Euro 2017 in the summer.

England’s SheBelieves Cup fixtures
1 March: England v France (Pennsylvania)
4 March: England v USA (New Jersey)
7 March: England v Germany (Washington)

“This tournament gives us a chance to pick up some real key learnings,” Sampson told the Football Association’s official website.

“It’s great to play two genuine Euro 2017 contenders. We can assess where we are at and also where they are at.

“It’s about being the team we want to be in the summer.

“They are three great games for us, under tournament conditions as well.”

Sampson has made seven changes to the squad who lost to Norway and drew with Sweden in January.

Liverpool defender Casey Stoney has recovered from injury and been recalled, Notts County striker Rachel Williams retains her place, while Chelsea forward Eniola Aluko is left out again.

England face France in their opener on 1 March in Pennsylvania.

They then face the hosts and world champions in New Jersey on 4 March, before taking on Germany in Washington on 7 March.

Following that, Sampson’s squad will play friendlies against Italy and Austria in April before their Euro 2017 campaign gets under way against Scotland on 19 July in the Netherlands.

England squad

Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Manchester City), Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool), Mary Earps (Reading)

Defenders: Laura Bassett (Notts County), Millie Bright (Chelsea), Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), Rachel Daly (Houston Dash), Steph Houghton (Manchester City), Jo Potter (Notts County), Alex Scott (Arsenal), Casey Stoney (Liverpool), Demi Stokes (Manchester City)

Midfielders: Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), Jade Moore (Notts County), Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Manchester City), Fara Williams (Arsenal)

Forwards: Karen Carney (Chelsea), Toni Duggan (Manchester City), Nikita Parris (Manchester City), Jodie Taylor (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Notts County), Ellen White (Birmingham City)

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