Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, has been announced as the host of the opening game of the UEFA Women's Euros next year.
The announcement comes marking 500 days to go until the Euros kick-off as England host the 13th edition of the tournament.
With an attendance just shy of 75,000, the Lionesses could break the tournament attendance record at the Theatre of Dreams on opening night. The record could be broken twice in the same tournament as the FA confirm the final will be hosted at Wembley.
The current record stands at 41,301 from 2013 final held in Sweden.
A stadium close to Phil Neville's heart having played many times there during his career with Manchester United, the Lionesses manager is relishing the opportunity to return.
"It doesn’t get much bigger than managing your country at a home EURO and to have the opportunity to do so at a stadium that holds so many memories for me is huge.
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"Old Trafford has a special place in my heart, but it is also one of the country’s most iconic football grounds, so today’s announcement is a significant one for the tournament," he said.
Manchester United is "honoured" to be hosting the Lionesses for the opening game, says Chief Operating Officer of the club, Collette Roche.
"Staging this illustrious fixture at Old Trafford provides a fantastic occasion to introduce women’s football to a whole new audience and support the global growth of the sport."
The full list of venues announced for the tournament are:
- Bramall Lane, Sheffield
- Brentford Community Stadium, London
- Brighton & Hove Community Stadium, Brighton & Hove
- Leigh Sports Village, Wigan & Leigh
- Manchester City Academy Stadium, Manchester
- New York Stadium, Rotherham
- Old Trafford, Trafford
- Stadium MK, Milton Keynes
- St Mary's Stadium, Southampton
- Wembley Stadium, London
FA's Director of Women's Football, Baroness Sue Campbell, believes the confirmation of Old Trafford is a testament to the "aspirations" for the Euros, with the hopes for a long-standing legacy.
"As a proud host nation, our aim is not only to deliver a record-breaking tournament but also to ensure that it provides a tangible legacy in terms of growing the women’s game."
She continued: "By inspiring fans both at home and abroad, and by committing to provide playing opportunities to girls in every school and club across the country, I am confident that we can do exactly that."
The 2021 Euros will be just the second time it has featured 16 teams since the expansion, with the Netherlands as the defending champions.
It will kick-off Wednesday 7 July before concluding Sunday 1 August.News Now - Sport News