Bristol City’s Ashton Gate to host host England v Belgium international match

The Lionesses will play at Ashton Gate for the first time in seven years - with the potential of a trophy lift
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Bristol City will welcome the England women's national team to Ashton Gate in February. The home ground of the Robins is hosting the Arnold Clark Cup, which is a four-team tournament.

The Arnold Clark Cup, which will enter its second edition in February, will see double-headers on the 16th, 19th and 22nd February in a round-robin format. Ashton Gate will host the final round of fixtures on February 22 with Sarina Wiegman's side hosting Belgium. Italy and the Korea Republic are the other two teams with the two other matches taking place at Stadium MK in Milton Keynes, as well as a venue that has yet to be decided.

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It will act as a warm-up for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup which is being hosted in Australia and New Zealand. England and Italy have qualified but are in separate groups. Belgium did not qualify after losing to Portugal in Round One of the single-legged play-offs. Korea are managed by Englishman Colin Bell, who coached at Huddersfield Town. The 61-year-old has been in charge of Korea since 2019 and led them to Korea's first final of the Women's Cup, where they lost to China.

England won the first edition of the tournament, drawing with Canada and Spain, but beating EURO 2021 runners-up Germany to finish ahead of the Spanish. Riverside Stadium, Carrow Road and Molineux Stadium were the venues that were used in the 2022 edition.

Sarina Wiegman, England Senior Women’s Head Coach said: “Winning the 2022 Arnold Clark Cup was a big achievement and gave us momentum and confidence heading into the Euros.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to defend this title in front of our fans. Everything we now do is about being ready for the World Cup. Facing three different good opposition, each with a different style of play and playing three matches in ten days is the perfect preparation for the challenges that await us this summer. We hope these games excite the fans and they continue to give us such amazing support.”

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The Lionesses last played in Bristol in November 2015, when they beat Bosnia & Herzegovina 1-0. Jill Scott, now a contestant on I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here, was the match winner that day. Ashton Gate has hosted many high-profile sporting events, including Bristol City Women's win over Barcelona in the UEFA Women's Champions League.

“It has been incredible to watch the Lionesses’ journey and we’ve followed their success since hosting them here back in 2015," said Ashton Gate, Managing Director, Mark Kelly.

"During that time, we completed our stadium redevelopment and we’ve been proud to host a number of high-profile international sporting and entertainment acts. Most recently, having the Red Roses play here, in their final warm-up match ahead of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand was incredibly poignant. To see them now about to compete in another World Cup Final is truly inspiring.

“I look forward to us playing our part in the Lionesses’ World Cup preparations and hopefully the perfect send-off, in front of what I’m sure will be another record crowd.”

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