Date: 12th December 2016 at 12:20pm
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England will take on Sweden and Norway at the start of 2017 as they prepare for the summer’s European Championships.

The Lionesses travel to Murcia and will face Norway on January 22 and their Scandinavian neighbours two days later.

Their recent record against both sides is good – they beat Norway 2-1 on their bronze-medal run at the 2015 Women’s World Cup, and took Sweden apart in a 4-0 rout in the summer of 2014.

England coach Mark Sampson said in a statement, “These matches will be a vital part of our preparation for the Euros on and off the pitch.

“Sweden and Norway are excellent sides who will both be considered contenders for European Championship. They will provide tough tests for us and we’ll need to be playing at our best in these games.

“We’ve been working to secure matches against a variety of European opposition ahead of the tournament, so we can be as ready for anything we might come up against next summer as possible.”

Closer to home, the arrangements for Women’s Super League licensing have been revealed – and it has now been confirmed that when the WSL returns to a winter season, from 2017-18, there will be relegation from WSL2 into the FA Women’s Premier League.

On the pitch, there has been plenty of cup action, with last season’s FA WPL Cup winners Tottenham Hotspur showing that they intend to retain their trophy by cruising into the semi-finals with a 4-1 defeat of Crystal Palace.

Elsewhere, Southampton stunned higher-division opposition when they knocked Premier League Swindon Town out of the first round of the FA Women’s Cup, beating them 2-0.

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