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Northern Ireland Women to face Switzerland in February friendly


On move: Glentoran Women’s Annie Timoney has linked up with Celtic Women

On move: Glentoran Women’s Annie Timoney has linked up with Celtic Women

On move: Glentoran Women’s Annie Timoney has linked up with Celtic Women

Northern Ireland will prepare for April’s crunch Women’s World Cup 2023 double-header against Austria and England by taking on one of Europe’s most in-form teams.

Ahead of what could be two pivotal games in the fight to make the play-offs for Australia and New Zealand and with the Women’s Euro 2022 finals in July also in mind, Kenny Shiels’ team will face Switzerland in a friendly next month.

The match has been pencilled in for the weekend of February 19/20, with the exact details yet to be confirmed.

The Swiss will pose a stern test for Northern Ireland after making a made a perfect start to their World Cup 2023 qualifying campaign, winning all six games so far, including a stunning victory in Italy back in November and scoring 26 goals in the process.

Like Northern Ireland, Switzerland qualified for the Euro 2022 finals via the play-offs, beating the Czech Republic on penalties after both legs of their tie finished in 1-1 draws. They reached the play-offs after winning six of their eight qualifying games, only dropping points in a draw away to Croatia and a defeat in Belgium.

At the finals in England this July, Switzerland will meet Netherlands, Sweden and Russia.

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Northern Ireland last met the Swiss in the Euro 2017 qualifying series, losing 4-0 in Switzerland after an 8-1 defeat at Mourneview Park in 2015.

It will be a much stronger Northern Ireland team that will take on the side ranked 17th in the world this time around, with 22 home-based players now in a full-time training programme in preparation for the Euro finals.

* GLENTORAN Women’s Annie Timoney has become the latest player to leave Northern Ireland for full-time football by signing a short-term deal with Celtic Women.

The defender has joined the Scottish giants until the end of the season with the incentive that a longer deal could be on the table if she impresses during the next five months.

It means that all three of Glasgow’s top clubs — Celtic, Rangers and Glasgow City — all have former Glentoran players in their squads. Demi Vance has been with Rangers for the last two years and, just a couple of weeks ago, Kerry Beattie joined Glasgow City.

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