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Hungary, Bosnia and sunshine to ready Ireland for Euro test

THE FAI have confirmed that Ireland will play Bosnia and Herzegovina and Hungary before Euro 2012.

The Bosnians will visit Lansdowne Road on May 26, before Ireland travel to the Italian town of Montecatini, near Florence, for their training camp.

It is thought they may face a local team in the Tuscan town before travelling to Budapest for a final friendly against the Hungarians on June 4.

Ireland, who will also take on the Czech Republic at home on February 29, open their European championships campaign against Croatia in Poznan on June 10.

Bosnia missed out on qualification to the tournament in Poland and Ukraine when they lost their play-off to Portugal 6-2 on aggregate. Hungary finished third in their group behind Holland and Sweden.

FAI chief John Delaney defended the calibre of Ireland's opposition for the warm up games.

"The Czech Republic have qualified, to be fair. They are one of the 16 teams that are there. There was a rule that you could not play one of the top 16 teams within 30 days of the Euros," he said.

"I don't think teams outside Europe suited. I think it was best to get somebody who will play a similar style of football so we got Bosnia, who are 19th in the world and are very similar to Croatia.

"The manager felt it would be right to play a similar type nation to prepare properly."

Delaney added that he is seeking to increase Ireland's allocation of 6,000 for the group games against Croatia, Spain and Italy, with the FAI anticipating a crowd of 25,000 to make the trip to Poland.

"I am hopeful that we might get some extra tickets as we get nearer to the Euros. We have made representations. We have got 6,000 tickets per game, they'll all go," he said.

The FAI have confirmed that the tickets for the Czech Republic are available from €20 with children's tickets available from €10.

February 29: Czech Republic (h)

May 26: Bosnia and Herzegovina (h)

May 27: Travel to Montecatini, Tuscany for training camp

May 27-June 3: Possible friendly with local club side in Italy

May 31: Deadline of submission for final 23-man squad

June 4: Hungary (a)

June 5: Travel to Gdynia, Poland for

pre-tournament training

June 10: Euro 2012 opening match v Croatia, Poznan

Irish Independent