Sunday 18 February 2018

FAI confirm international friendly with Netherlands as final Euro 2016 warm-up


Netherlands international Memphis Depay
Netherlands international Memphis Depay
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The FAI has confirmed it will host Netherlands in a friendly international in Aviva Stadium in May as the final warm-up game at home before the European Championships.

Securing a date with the Dutch will be viewed as a coup for the Abbotstown hierarchy as Danny Blind's side are in demand on account of their failure to qualify for France.

The FAI made early contact with their Dutch counterparts with a view to arranging a game, and a number of other qualifiers duly followed suit as they sought to finalise their summer plans.

But Abbotstown officials managed to get the deal done and the match will take place on Friday May 27.

It will be the 20th meeting in all competitions between the nations - the first since a friendly meeting at the old Lansdowne in 2006 which resulted in a 4-0 win for the visitors at the start of Steve Staunton's turbulent reign. Two years previously, Brian Kerr's Ireland arrived in Holland for a friendly which functioned as their send-off ahead of Euro 2004; Robbie Keane spoiled the party by scoring the game's only goal.

The Dutch are still ranked 14th in the world despite their French failure. They reached the semi-finals of last year's World Cup in Brazil under former manager Louis van Gaal.

Next on the list for Ireland is a Dublin double header against Switzerland (Friday March 25) and Slovakia (Tuesday March 29).

Martin O'Neill will tomorrow meet FAI chief executive John Delaney to discuss the plans for after the Dutch encounter. A training camp in either Austria or Italy is on the agenda before the team arrive in France. An away friendly could also be added into the plans.

Irish Independent

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