England's travelling support at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa (file photo). Barry Aldworth/Sports Inc/Press Association Images
Euro 2012

It's official: No Ireland-England friendly before Euro 2012

The FA confirmed details of England’s Euro 2012 warm-up schedule this afternoon.

THE FAI WILL have to wait until after Euro 2012 to cash in on the long-awaited friendly between Ireland and England at the Aviva Stadium.

Fabio Capello’s men announced details of their final two warm-up matches this afternoon and, as expected, they have opted to bypass Dublin in the run-up to the finals in Poland and Ukraine.

Instead, England will play Norway at Oslo’s Ullevaal Stadion on 26 May before saying one final farewell on home soil with a friendly against Belgium in Wembley on 2 June.

Capello’s squad will then depart for their Krakow training base ahead of their opening game against France on 11 June.

This afternoon’s announcement finally brings closure to the FAI’s fading hopes of a pre-tournament money-spinner between the two neighbours. Crowd trouble caused by English hooligans forced the sides’ last meeting in Lansdowne Road in 1995 to be abandoned after just 27 minutes, and the English FA have long expressed a wish to return to Dublin for a game.

A Euro 2012 warm-up match seemed to be on the cards when UEFA changed a rule which did not allow two competing countries to play each other in the month leading up to a major tournament.

But after last month’s draw for the finals left open the possibility of quarter-final meeting between the two, FAI chief executive John Delaney admitted that the English camp had cooled on the idea.

“They’re not that keen to do it in May,” Delaney said, “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.”

Ireland’s only confirmed warm-up friendly so far is the visit of the Czech Republic to Dublin on 29 February.

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