Ireland to play England in 2015

Mike Hewitt

After meeting in a friendly last year in Wembley, England will now return the favor as Ireland play host. By the time the friendly kicks-off, it will be 20 years since Ireland last hosted England.

With just about 2 months or so to go until the World Cup kicks-off in Brazil, its only natural that all eyes are set on the preparations for the tournament. England as one of the participants, are no different to the others, with the coaching staff keeping a close eye on the performance of the national team hopefuls. However, for countries that failed to qualify, focus is being set elsewhere in order to prepare for the upcoming major tournament (which for European countries will be Euro 2016).

Republic of Ireland, are one of those teams that did not qualify for this year's World Cup, and naturally have their sights set on the next European Championships. Other than the usual round of qualifiers, friendlies will also be scheduled, in order to prepare the teams and giving the national team manager chances to experiment with the squad (and to make some money for the national football association as well). For that purpose, Ireland have announced that they will play England in a friendly scheduled for June next year in Dublin.

The last time the two sides met was in May last year at Wembley, which resulted in a 1-1 draw. Despite their proximity in terms of geography, the last time England played in Dublin was actually in 1995, which means 20 years have passed before Ireland hosted England again. Hopefully this time around the match can ran its course, as that match in 1995 have to be abandoned after only 27 minutes due to crowd violence.

Other than the obvious history between the two countries, it will also be interesting to see how far England have come a year after their World Cup performance. The squad could be noticeably different, with the likes of Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard, and possibly Steven Gerrard replaced by younger, up-and-coming names. Will Roy Hodgson still be in the dugout by then? Who'll wear the armband if Gerrard is no longer around? We'll just have to wait and see.

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