England announce matches against Brazil and Republic of Ireland

 

England are to face the Republic of Ireland in Dublin for the first time since fans forced their last encounter to be abandoned. 

The Football Association of Ireland today confirmed that the Republic will host a friendly clash at the Aviva Stadium with a provisional date having been set for November 2014.

An FAI spokesman said: "The Football Association of Ireland today confirmed that it will play reciprocal away and home friendly matches against England.

"The first match will take place in Wembley on May 29, 2013 and will form part of the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations, while the reciprocal match, to be played at Aviva Stadium, is provisionally scheduled for November 2014."

The game in Dublin will represent a significant landmark for the two countries, who have not met in the city since 1995 when England supporters at Lansdowne Road, now revamped as the Aviva Stadium, tore up seats and hurled missiles after David Kelly had put the home side 1-0 ahead.

Talk of a return has been ongoing for several years, but the two associations have now finally reached an agreement.

Five-times World Cup winners Brazil will also visit Wembley in February as part of a two-match arrangement that will see England head to South America for a short tour in June immediately after their date with the Giovanni Trapattoni's men.

While the February 6 encounter with Brazil is bound to be attractive, given the South Americans were recently in the UK for the Olympics and played Team GB just before, arguably the Irish match is of more significance.

Certainly, Wembley is likely to be full given the interest there is bound to be from the Republic's fans in their side's first visit to the stadium since 1991.

For the FA, the high-profile fixtures are in keeping with the rest of their 150th anniversary celebrations.

A match against Scotland has already been confirmed for August, with another fixture planned - possibly against Uruguay - next summer.

The FA have already assured Premier League bosses their players will be back in England by June 11, when World Cup qualifying games will still be being played elsewhere.

Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said: "We're delighted Brazil will kick-off the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations at Wembley.

"2013 is a landmark year for The FA and an exciting England fixture programme in addition to Wembley hosting the UEFA Champions League Final will form a key part of the celebrations.

"As the most successful footballing nation, with great players and supporters, it will be fantastic to launch this important year in English football's history against such outstanding opponents as Brazil.

"We also look forward to hosting Republic of Ireland and Scotland at Wembley next year. These matches are sure to evoke great passion among supporters."

And, as Bevington pointed out, the South American expedition could prove vital preparation for a tilt at the World Cup, which is being hosted by Brazil in 2014.

"We have been planning the fixtures in Brazil for over a year, as a key part of our preparation for 2014 - subject to qualification," he said.

"Our players do not have any experience of playing in South America and it will undoubtedly be beneficial for the team to travel and play in Brazil, a year ahead of the World Cup. We negotiated our qualifying schedule with a specific view to allowing this.

"While in Brazil, The FA and England squad will play an active role in developing and supporting a charity programme both in advance of and during the summer of 2013 and 2014."

 



PA

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