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England in line for Dublin return as friendly confirmed

ENGLAND are set to visit Dublin for a friendly three months before the 20th anniversary of the shameful scenes at Lansdowne Road in February 1995.

It was confirmed yesterday that Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland will take to the stage at Wembley for a friendly with England on May 29 next year. That will be the first meeting between the countries since the match in Dublin 4, which was abandoned due to crowd trouble caused by travelling hooligans.

As part of a reciprocal arrangement, the English FA have agreed in principle to come to Ireland in November 2014.

The FAI won't be in a position to confirm that date until the draw for Euro 2016 qualifying takes place.

While the November window is generally a friendly date, it is sometimes designated for competitive games if there is a problem in the fixture meetings to work out a schedule for the calendar during that 15-month cycle.

But the Abbotstown authorities are confident it won't come to that and, after a vexed process with numerous false starts, they have finally landed the lucrative date with our neighbours.

The FA are celebrating their 150th anniversary next year and have provisionally arranged an end-of-season tour to Brazil which will feature two matches.

They have pencilled in Ireland's visit for Wednesday, May 29, four days after Wembley hosts the Champions League final.

Trapattoni's men face the Faroe Islands in their only competitive summer fixture nine days later.

England will also welcome Scotland to their home in August, and the FA anticipate sell-out crowds for both encounters. As part of their tour arrangement, they will host Brazil in February.

"It will be fantastic to launch this important year in English football's history against such outstanding opponents as Brazil," said the FA's Adrian Bevington. "We also look forward to hosting Republic of Ireland and Scotland at Wembley. These matches are sure to evoke great passion among supporters."

Meanwhile, Ireland's plans for this November should become clearer over the coming days, with a friendly with Greece on course to be confirmed. The Greeks have consistently qualified for major tournaments and tasted European Championship glory in 2004 but, like most friendlies at that time of year, they will likely prove a hard sell.

There should be no such problems in 2014.

Irish Independent