The Football Ferns will play world number one USA in Texas on February 11 as part of an intensive build-up for the 2012 London Olympics.

The match, funded by High Performance Sport New Zealand, will kick off a busy year for the Ferns. They compete in the Cyprus Cup games in February and March, before Olympic qualifiers in March and April and European friendlies en route to London if the team qualify.

The Ferns will have played 10 internationals by the time they reach London, with the match against the reigning Olympic champions in Dallas the most testing but also most beneficial.

"We have a goal of reaching the quarter-finals in London," Football Ferns coach Tony Readings said. "There will be some pretty formidable teams standing between us and that goal.

Advertisement

"We need to play the best teams in the world to prepare and there is still no tougher game than the USA on their home turf."

It will be Readings' first game in charge of the national team after stepping up from the assistant coach role to replace John Herdman in September.

The Ferns are warm favourites to claim Oceania's sole berth in the 12-team women's Olympic tournament, after their rampant form in the eight-nation OFC Women Nations Cup in 2010 saw them qualify for both the 2011 Women's World Cup and the final stage of Olympic qualification - a home and away playoff against an unknown Oceania country in March.

The team's fourth trip to the annual Cyprus Cup - an event that has seen New Zealand claim the scalps of Italy, Netherlands, Scotland and Switzerland in the past - is another vital piece of the preparation puzzle. Next year's edition will see the Ferns take on Northern Ireland, South Africa and Korea Republic, something Readings was looking forward to.

"Korea Republic are one of the fast risers in women's football and, while we don't know a lot about Northern Ireland and South Africa, they'll be sure to bring a different style. It's also really beneficial to get an early look at South Africa who have already qualified for London.

"A couple of good results over there and we'll have some real momentum heading into the Olympic qualifiers."

Football Ferns Olympic build-up (all NZT)

February 12-New Zealand v USA, FC Dallas Stadium, Dallas, USA, 10am

Advertisement

2012 Cyprus Cup

February 29-New Zealand v Northern Ireland, Cyprus, 6.30am

March 3-New Zealand v South Africa, Cyprus, 6.30am

March 5-New Zealand v Korea Republic, Cyprus, 3.30am

OFC Olympic Games qualification playoff (home and away)

Mar 31-New Zealand v TBD

April 4-New Zealand v TBD