England Women will take on World Cup winners USA tonight in their SheBelieves Cup opener in Tampa, Florida.
Captain Steph Houghton says England are in America for one reason only – to win the tournament.
Mark Sampson’s side will take on the host nation at 12.45am GMT (Friday 4 March) before facing reigning European champions Germany in Nashville on Sunday and France, ranked third in the world, in Boca Raton next Wednesday.
Tonight’s match is live on BBC One.
And although the opposition couldn’t get any harder on paper, Houghton believes her side must have the belief they can come out on top against their high-calibre opponents.
The 27-year-old said: “We have to believe that we’re good enough [to win the tournament]. The confidence in this squad is sky high. We have to have that winning mentality, like we showed against Germany at the World Cup, especially because at that time we were coming off the back of that semi-final defeat to Japan.
“The world rankings don’t lie in terms of USA, Germany and France being one, two and three. It’s important for us to be playing those types of teams. We shouldn’t be going into these games fearing the worst. We should be looking to get the win.”
All FA WSL are still in pre-season, with the season set to begin on Wednesday 23 March, and England haven’t played a match since November, while in contrast USA have played six matches since the turn of the year.
But Houghton will refuse to use a lack of match fitness as an excuse for a poor result in Tampa. She said: “A lot of the girls have had pre-season friendlies with their clubs.
“At the moment the whole squad is feeling fit, fresh and raring to go. You do miss these types of games when you haven’t played international football for two or three months. But we can’t use that as an excuse. It’s up to us to be firing on all cylinders.
“Hopefully we can get some really good results over here.”
England’s next home game is a UEFA Women’s Euros 2017 qualifier against Belgium in Rotherham on Friday 8 April (7.55pm KO).
Tickets for the game are on sale now priced £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. A family ticket priced £10 (two adults and two children) is also available and group booking discounts apply. Tickets can be bought via www.TheFA.com/Tickets or by calling 08444 140 754.
Pictured above Steph Houghton with Continental Cup 2014.
For more information please visit the FA here.
Report courtesy of the FA