Abby Wambach says England friendly is “huge” for U.S. women’s national team

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On Friday the USWNT take on the English national team in Milton Keynes, and legendary striker Abby Wambach believes the friendly is crucial as the team continue to prepare for the World Cup in Canada this summer.

[ RELATED: USWNT lose to France ]

Wambach, 34, is wary of the threat England possess — England beat the USA 2-1 in a big upset the last time they met in 2011 — and is expecting a tough test from their fellow World Cup competitors.

Speaking to Sky Sports ahead of the friendly, which kicks off at 3 p.m. ET on Friday, Wambach had the following to say.

“Every game is huge for us,” Wambach said. “But it’s so important playing in environments like this where football is the No 1 sport and the fans will be out in force. It’s going to be a hostile environment for us, which we can expect in the World Cup (in Canada this summer), so all of these games are massive for us. Nowadays there are no easy games where we can coast through. England are a very good team and they have proven that on the many occasions we have played them.”

Wambach and the USWNT lost to France 2-0 in a friendly last week after an underwhelming display and Jill Ellis’ side have now won just once in their last five games.

With Hope Solo suspended from the team until further notice, struggling performances on the pitch and the U.S. losing their No. 1 spot in the world rankings, a tough test away at a rising team like England will further test the mettle of Ellis’ squad.

In the USA you can watch the USWNT vs. England on Friday at 3 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1.