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Banyana Banyana add Norway to their WC preparations

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 02: Janine van Wyk, Desiree Ellis and Emma Hendricks during the Banyana Banyana Arrival Press Conference at OR Tambo International Airport on December 02, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)
JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 02: Janine van Wyk, Desiree Ellis and Emma Hendricks during the Banyana Banyana Arrival Press Conference at OR Tambo International Airport on December 02, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Cape Town - Banyana Banyana will conclude their 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup preparations with an international friendly clash against Norway.

The international friendly match will take place on Sunday, June 2 at Stade Moulonguet in Amiens, France.

This will be Banyana Banyana's final match before the start of the tournament five days later from June 7 to July 7 in France.

Desiree Ellis' charges will open their campaign against Spain on the June 8.

Norway has been ever-present in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, and has never missed a tournament since 1991 – they were champions in 1995. This will be their 8thappearance.

They also won gold at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games but did not qualify for the last two editions in London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Norway were crowned champions of the UEFA Women's Championship in 1987 and 1993.

They are currently ranked 12th in the world and sixth in UEFA, while Banyana Banyana are placed 49thin the world and third on the continent.

Norway are the reigning champions of the Algarve Cup played annually in Portugal.

Since the beginning of 2019, the Europeans have played six games, winning four (vs Scotland, Denmark, China PR and Poland) and losing two (vs Canada and New Zealand).

"We could not have asked for better preparations looking at our programme - and now to add Norway to the mix is just great. They are a great team, and their record speak volumes - world champs in 1995, UEFA winners in 1987 and 1983 as well as Olympic gold in 2000 - shows they are no pushovers and will give us the final test before we enter the biggest stage of our careers, so this has really come at a very good time," Ellis said.

"Nine top quality opposition teams ahead of our maiden world cup tournament? This is exactly what we needed. The clash against Norway is the final fixture before we kickoff our first match of the competition, so everything has to go according to plan.

"We don't want a situation where say we are lacking here or there, and there is no time to work on those - with this encounter we will be able to see just how far we are and where we need to fix, just in time for the World Cup."

This will be the first time South Africa faces Norway.

Kick-off is at 20:00.

That match will be Banyana Banyana's 9th fixture of the year against top class opposition as they prepare for the World Cup - they have taken on Sweden, the Netherlands, Korea DPR, Czech Republic, Finland twice and more recently Jamaica.

On Monday May 6 they depart for the USA to face the host nation in an international friendly match, scheduled for Sunday, May 12 at the Levi Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

The USA will perhaps be their toughest match to date, and this will be the second meeting the two nations.

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