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Seattle Reign players report to international duty

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Seven players will represent their country during this FIFA break.

England v Wales - Women's World Cup Qualifier Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

While most Seattle Reign FC players will use the FIFA international break to rest, recover, and get some much-needed downtime, seven Seattle stars will be representing their countries in competitive matches and friendlies: Jess Fishlock, Naho Kawasumi, Allie Long, Theresa Nielsen, Megan Rapinoe, Jodie Taylor, and Rumi Utsugi.

World Cup Qualifiers

Three Seattle players will be competing in World Cup qualifiers during the FIFA international break. With limited matches remaining in the European qualifiers, every point is crucial. There are seven groups in the UEFA qualifying tournament, and five teams in each group. After this window’s matches, every team will have just one or two matches remaining — with those final games coming in late August/early September.

When the Group Stage concludes, the top team in each group automatically qualifies for the World Cup. The four runners-up with the best record advance to a playoff tournament in November 2018, with the winner securing the eighth and final UEFA spot in the 2019 World Cup. Currently, all three Reign FC players representing their countries head into their June matches with a solid opportunity to qualify.

For Seattle, Jess Fishlock joins Wales for two critical qualifying matches. Wales has never qualified for the women’s World Cup tournament, and the squad currently sits second in Group 1 behind England — earning 11 points in 5 games, compared to England’s 13. After these two matches, Wales will have one remaining game in August, which happens to be against Jodie Taylor and England.

On Thursday, June 7, Wales faces off against Bosnia and Herzegovina. The following Tuesday, June 12, Fishlock and Wales go up against Russia. Both matches take place in Wales.

Jodie Taylor was among the 20 players chosen to represent England in their World Cup qualifying match against Russia. That game will kick off in Moscow on June 8. England doesn’t have a second match in this window, but will have two in the fall to round out the Group Stage, including the aforementioned clash with Wales which could decide the winner of the group.

Theresa Nielsen was called up by Denmark for two World Cup qualifiers. On June 8, Denmark heads on the road to face Ukraine, followed by a June 12 match at home against Hungary. Following the country’s runner-up honors in the 2017 UEFA EURO competition, Denmark sits in second in Group 4, with nine points in four matches. The team’s one loss to top-of-the-group Sweden was the result of a forfeit, as Denmark players were having a pay dispute with their federation and refused to play.

Friendlies

Naho Kawasumi and Rumi Utsugi were both called up by Japan for a June 10 friendly against New Zealand. The match will be played in Wellington, New Zealand and broadcast live on Sky Sport. Japan has already qualified for the World Cup with their 1-0 win over Australia in the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

Allie Long and Megan Rapinoe were called into U.S. Women’s National Team training camp by Jill Ellis (before the official FIFA break and during a weekend where Reign FC could have used them, we shall remind everyone). Both will likely make the gameday roster for two U.S. matches against China. The first takes place June 7 in Sandy, Utah (FS1 at 6 PM PT). The second match will be June 12 in Cleveland (ESPN2 at 4 PM PT).

Seattle Reign International Matches

Thursday, June 7

Wales v. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Time: 11 AM PT
Location: Swansea, Wales
TV: BBC Red Button
Streaming: BBC*

USA v. China
Time: 6 PM PT
Location: Sandy, Utah
TV: FS1
Streaming: FoxSportsGo

Friday, June 8

Russia v. England
Time: 9 AM PT
Location: Moscow, Russia
Streaming: BBC*

Ukraine v. Denmark
Time: 9 AM PT
Location: Lviv, Ukraine
Streaming: DR TV*

Friday, June 9

Japan v. New Zealand
Time: 8 PM PT
Location: Wellington, New Zealand
Streaming: N/A

Tuesday, June 12

Denmark v. Hungary
Time: 9 AM PT
Location: Viborg, Denmark
Streaming: DR TV*

Wales v. Russia
Time: 11 AM PT
Location: Newport, Wales
TV: BBC Two Wales
Streaming: Radio Wales Sport*

USA v. China
Time: 4 PM PT
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio
TV: ESPN2
Streaming: WatchESPN

*These streams might be geoblocked

All seven players will return to Reign FC prior to Seattle’s June 16 match against the Washington Spirit and are expected to be available for selection in that game.