Football Ferns face world champions USA at four-team SheBelieves Cup in February

The Football Ferns will take on reigning world champions USA, when they open their 2022 campaign at the SheBelieves Cup in California and Texas next month.

New Zealand last faced the Americans during pool play at the Tokyo Olympics, falling 6-1 to the eventual bronze medallists, but have a chance to measure their improvement under new coach Jitka Klimkova at the four-team tournament that also includes Iceland and Czech Republic.

"Playing the No.1 team in the world - the United States - as well as Iceland, who are consistently in the top 20, and the Czech Republic, who lately twice drew with the Netherlands, will serve as a great test event for the Ford Football Ferns," says Klimkova.

"We are now just 18 months from co-hosting the FIFA Women’s World Cup, so now is the time for us to challenge ourselves against good opponents and play in front of good crowds, such as in the US.

"After games against Canada - the Olympic winners - and Korea Republic, one of the top three teams in Asia, I think we are ready to face the Americans and two of the top teams in Europe. I believe we will compete on the day, play with courage, learn and discover our work-ons."

While the four-time Olympic champions, four-time World Cup winners always present a daunting challenge for the NZ women, ranked 22nd in the world, Iceland and Czech Republic provide more realistic competition, as they try to build on a 2-0 win over South Korea in their last outing.

Iceland are ranked just above New Zealand in 16th and needed a penalty shootout to edge the Kiwis at the 2016 Algarve Cup, after finishing 1-1 in regulation and overtime.

Klimkova played twice for the Czech national team, currently sitting two spots behind the Ferns on world rankings, but their February 24 meeting would be their first.

Iceland and Czech Republic are trying to qualify for next year's World Cup through Europe, with Iceland already booked for the Euro championships in July.

Football Ferns' SheBelieves Cup draw:

NZ v Iceland

2pm, February 18 (NZ time) at Carson, California


9am, February 21 (NZ time), at Carson, California               

NZ v Czech Republic

Noon, February 24 (NZ time), at Frisco, Texas