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 (The FA via Getty Images)

(The FA via Getty Images)

Team GB‘s women’s football friendly against Zambia which was set to be played at the Bet365 stadium next week has been cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions.

In a statement, the FA said: “Due to circumstances beyond everyone’s control Zambia have had to withdraw from the National Lottery-hosted GB Women’s Football send-off game on 1 July.

“The African nation – who will also be taking part in the Olympic Games in Tokyo next month – had to pull out because of complications linked to Covid-19 restrictions.”

Approximately 7,000 supporters were due to have attended the game but women’s football fans in the UK will now have to wait until the start of the domestic season to see a match in person.

Refunds will be issued to everybody who purchased tickets for the game

It means that the squad, comprising of 15 England players as well as two from Scotland and one from Wales, will head into the tournament without having played any games together.

A lack of preparation will put Hege Riise’s side at a clear disadvantage. England have only played three friendlies this year, while others at the competition have had even more warmup games.

Overwhelming favourites, the United States, have played twelve games already this year, something which should help them.

Team GB will play their opening game of the Olympics on 21 July before facing Japan and Canada later in the month. It is the first time since London 2012 that a women’s football side has been entered.

England had secured qualification on behalf of GB for 2016 but an agreement between the home nations could not be reached.

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