England call up Rachel Williams for Sweden clash
England coach Hope Powell names her 26-player squad to face Sweden in final World Cup warm-up game
England coach Hope Powell has called up Birmingham City forward Rachel Williams to her squad for the final warm-up game before the World Cup in Germany in June.
Williams, who hit the first Women’s Super League hat-trick against Liverpool and is the league’s top scorer with six goals in four games, joins Chelsea midfielder Dani Buet in the squad.
England take on Sweden on 17 May at Oxford’s Kassam Stadium without captain Faye White, who was injured during Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Bristol Academy in the WSL last month.
The rest of Powell’s squad is unchanged from the historic 2-1 victory over the USA last month, but for the inclusion of Chelsea goalkeeper Carly Telford.
England’s last game against Sweden ended in a 1-1 draw in the Euro 2009 group stages with White’s header cancelled out by a Victoria Svensson penalty.
Their last meeting in England was during Euro 2005, when Powell’s side were denied a place in the semi-finals after Anna Sjostrom scored the only goal at Ewood Park.
“This game will be competitive, it will be physical and it will be another good test for us,” said Powell.
“Our games against Sweden in recent years have been very close and that just shows how far we have progressed. I can remember getting beaten 5-0 by them a few years ago, but games between us recently have been drawn or there have been narrow wins for either side.
“This is a good final home fixture going into a World Cup,” she continued. “The level of competition is exactly right; Sweden are a world class team.
“I was really pleased with how we played against USA, particularly in the first half. The Sweden game will provide us with a good benchmark to see whether that USA game was a one-off or whether have got it within ourselves to keep reproducing those sorts of good results against the top teams.
“Since the draw was made in November it has been a manic few months, but a great few months for the women’s game, especially with the launch of the WSL. Women’s football is now beginning to flourish like never before and we should all embrace it.”
Powell will announce her World Cup squad on 10 June before England’s first group game against Mexico in Wolfsburg on 27 June.
England squad to face Sweden:
Goalkeepers: Karen Bardsley (Sky Blue), Rachel Brown (Everton), Siobhan Chamberlain (Bristol Academy), Carly Telford (Chelsea).
Defenders: Sophie Bradley (Lincoln Ladies), Lindsay Johnson (Everton), Claire Rafferty (Chelsea), Alex Scott (Boston Breakers), Casey Stoney (Lincoln Ladies), Dunia Susi (Birmingham City), Rachel Unitt (Everton).
Midfielders: Anita Asante (Sky Blue), Laura Bassett (Birmingham City), Dani Buet (Chelsea), Steph Houghton (Arsenal), Jill Scott (Everton), Fara Williams (Everton)
Forwards: Eniola Aluko (Sky Blue), Karen Carney (Birmingham City), Jess Clarke (Lincoln Ladies), Natasha Dowie (Everton), Kelly Smith (Boston Breakers), Sue Smith (Lincoln Ladies), Ellen White (Arsenal), Rachel Williams (Birmingham City), Rachel Yankey (Arsenal).