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England women’s football team to train in Qatar for first time

Doha (AFP) – England’s women football team will hold a winter training camp in World Cup 2022 host Qatar this month, officials in the Gulf and the English Football Association confirmed on Monday.

The team will train at Doha’s Aspire Zone from January 14-22, said officials in Qatar, as they continue preparations for the World Cup later this year and ahead of taking part in the SheBelieves Cup, a four-team tournament in the United States in February and March.

“The training camp in Qatar is crucial for our SheBelieves Cup preparation and an ideal opportunity for us to work as a group as we begin an important year,” said England coach Phil Neville.

It the first time the English women’s team has trained in Qatar, although the men’s side played — and lost — a friendly in Doha against Brazil in November 2009.

Twenty eight players will make the journey from the UK to the Gulf, with the squad expected to be announced Tuesday.

The women’s World Cup takes place in France in June and July.

England’s women’s team is joining a host of other sides — domestic and international — currently training in Qatar.

Bayern Munich and PSV Eindhoven are already in Doha, with Qatari-owned French champions Paris Saint-Germain flying out on Sunday (13th).

At least seven other club sides will train in Aspire during this month.

Among the national teams in Qatar are Sweden and Finland, who will play each other in a friendly on Tuesday.

The English Football Association, which failed in its bid to host the 2018 World Cup, has previously been a critic of the decision to host the 2022 tournament in Qatar.

However, in February last year, the Qatari and English Football Associations signed a “memorandum of understanding” in Doha to “share  resources and expertise, develop knowledge (and) understanding” of football issues.

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