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English FA cool on idea of May friendly in Dublin

John Delaney admits that any friendly between Ireland and England is unlikely to take place until after next summer’s European Championships.

Image: Chris Ison/PA Archive/Press Association Images

ENGLISH FOOTBALL CHIEFS have put a proposed Euro 2012 warm-up game against Ireland on the backburner for fear that the two countries might meet in the quarter-finals of the tournament itself.

The FAI had hoped to cash in on the FA’s long-standing promise to return to Dublin for a money-spinning friendly by tying Fabio Capello’s men down to a May date in the Aviva Stadium.

But despite a UEFA rule change which would allow the two countries to meet in the month before the championships, England have informed Abbotstown that they won’t be coming to Dublin until after the tournament.

England have been drawn alongside Ukraine, France and Sweden in Group D next summer, raising the prospect of a meeting with Ireland in the last eight if both countries get out of their respective groups.

Speaking to Ken Doherty on Sunshine 106.8 last night, FAI chief executive John Delaney expressed his hope that England would visit before the end of 2012 but said that a warm-up game now appeared to be off the table.

Ireland begin their Euro 2012 preparations with a home game against the Czech Republic in February.

“We have tied down the Czech Republic for 29 February but I think the England game is looking less likely now for May,” Delaney said last night.

They’re not that keen to do it in May but they are very keen to come sooner rather than later to play a friendly in the Aviva. But I think it’s highly unlikely that it will be May now.

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Niall Kelly

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