The WSL and Reading FC Women will be on international break as February welcomes multiple cup competitions across Europe. Here’s your round up of the destinations all the Royals will be heading to.
The Pinatar Cup is an invitational tournament held in San Pedro del Pinatar first introduced in 2020. Scotland were crowned winners in the inaugural competition and the squad included Reading left back Emma Mitchell, who will miss out on selection this year after the birth of her first child. Mitchell has been capped 60 times for the side.
Wales will enter the tournament for the first time and are due to face current titleholders in the opening match. Wales is the home of the most Reading players with Tash Harding, Rachel Rowe, Lily Woodham and Gemma Evans all rewarded with places in the team. Former Royals Angharad James, Jess Fishlock and Charlie Estcourt will also link up with the squad. Harding is the most-capped current Berkshire player with 95 appearances and 24 goals to her name.
Justine Vanhaevermaet also makes the squad selection for Belgium as they too enter for the first time. The Red Devils are the highest ranked participants according to FIFA.
The tournament will also feature Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Ukraine.
Who to watch?
Lily Woodham for Wales, she’s gone from strength to strength down the wing for Reading this season and delivered some deadly set pieces. Alsu Abdullina is also worth looking out for having just signed for Chelsea.
The opening round of fixtures will all take place on the 16th of February. All games will be played at the Pinatar Arena and La Manga Club Football Stadium.
Wales v Scotland (3:30pm)
Republic of Ireland v Poland (3:30pm)
Slovakia v Belgium (8:30pm)
Hungary v Russia (8:30pm)
Arnold Clark Cup
England plays host to what is set to be a highly competitive tournament as the brand new Arnold Clark Cup kicks off in 2022. The European teams involved will likely be testing the waters in preparation for the upcoming Euros. Canada will be looking to build on their Olympic success which saw Bev Priestman, former England assistant manager, secure Gold with the team on an historic occasion. Deanne Rose will feature for Canada.
The tournament will also feature England, Spain and Germany.
Who to watch?
Deanne Rose for Canada, she was virtually unknown at the Olympics but she’s already got 61 caps and 10 goals to her name International and she is storming the central attacking line for Reading this season. Make sure you’re keeping tabs on Putellas for Spain and Oberdorf for Germany too.
The opening round of fixtures will all take place on the 17th of February. All games will be played at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, Carrow Road, Norwich and the Molineux, Wolverhampton.
Germany v Spain (2:30pm)
England v Canada (7:30pm)
The Algarve Cup is yet another invitational tournament which takes place in Portugal and this year is the 28th edition of the competition. Germany are the current champions having been declared the winner in the 2020 final as Italy decided not to attend due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. The USA are the most successful team to compete with ten titles to their name.
Amalie Eikeland has been called up by Norway, whilst fellow Scandinavian Sanne Troelsgaard will pull the Danish jersey on once again.
The tournament will also Italy, Sweden and Portugal. Australia were set to play in the tournament also but withdrew due to ‘the wellbeing of players and staff.’
Who to watch?
Sanne Troelsgaard will be looking to provide experience to the Danish squad having slotted in rather effortlessly at Reading. Carolina Mendes at Portugal is worth keeping an eye on, as is Hanna Glas from the Swedish squad, she is the one of the best defenders in the world right now and plies her trade at Bayern Munich currently.
The opening round of fixtures will all take place on the 16th and 18th of February. All games will be played at the Estadio Algarve and Estadio Municipal de Lagos.
Denmark v Italy (12:00pm)
Norway v Portugal (6:30pm)
Sweden v Denmark (5:00pm)
England Lionesses call-ups
Emma Harries has been called up to the England U23’s squad and she makes the short trip with the Lionesses to a double header in France. Games will take place on Thursday 17th February and Sunday 20th February. The team will be based in Lisieux for the games which will be played at Stade Pole de Normandie and Stade Louis Bielman. Both games are expected to kick off at 2pm.
Berkshire youngster Emma Thompson will feature in the England Development Phase squad. Thompson currently plays at Chelsea and made her debut for the club in their Women’s FA Cup tie against Aston Villa. They will travel to Spain for the Marbella International Tournament taking place between the 13th and 23rd February. First up they face Finland on Thursday 17 February at the Estadio Municipa Ciudad de La Linea, before travelling to play Denmark five days later at the Marbella Football Center.
Wales’ Bethan Roberts has also earnt a call up to the U19’s squad. The team will play in a double header against Scotland, the first at Denbigh Town on the 15th and the second at Colliers Park on the 18th.
Good luck to all our Royals in their international endeavours.