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With the World Cup just over four months away, this season's Cyprus Cup will, for Hope Powell, carry greater significance than in previous campaigns.
Not only will it give 20 players an opportunity to reacquaint themselves with tournament football, it will also provide an ideal platform for those players to impress their National Coach and stake a claim for a place on the plane to Germany 2011.
England will take on Italy (on 2 March), Scotland (4 March) and Canada (7 March) before one final match (9 March) against any one of the eight other nations, depending on the final group standings.
England faced Canada and Italy in last season's competition, losing 1-0 to the Canadians before edging a five-goal thriller against Italy 3-2.
"The Cyprus Cup is important for us because, although playing one-off games is great, it's important players understand the demands of tournament play, especially in a World Cup year," said Hope.
"It's great preparation because we are playing teams that we don't normally play and we will be facing a non-European side in Canada, so it's good to be able to get that exposure. It will be challenging, but necessary."
Included in the England squad is Kelly Smith, who is set to win her 100th cap for her country during the tournament. In the only change to the squad which competed in the Peace Cup, Siobhan Chamberlain returns in place of Rachel Brown.
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