September 13, 2012
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England to play Brazil and Ireland in 2013

England will play friendlies against Brazil and the Republic of Ireland in 2013 as a way of launching the Football Association's 150th anniversary, the national governing body said Wednesday.

Five-time World Cup winners Brazil will visit Wembley in February as part of a two-match arrangement that sees England heading to South America for a brief tour in June.

Prior to that trip, England will play the Republic of Ireland, also at Wembley, for the first time since their infamous fixture in 1995 was abandoned after a riot by England fans at Dublin's Lansdowne Road.

Brazil are always a big draw card and the February 6 clash is given added relevance by the fact the South Americans, beaten finalists in the recent men's Olympic football final in London, are staging the 2014 World Cup.

Officials will hope for a big crowd for what will be the Republic's first match at Wembley since 1991, with travelling fans only having to make a relatively short journey and a large expatriate community already in London.

Meanwhile England will face the Republic of Ireland in Dublin for the first time since their infamous encounter 17 years ago.

The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) confirmed the Republic will host a friendly international at Lansdowne Road with a provisional date having been set for November 2014.

An FAI spokesman said: "The Football Association of Ireland today confirmed that it will play reciprocal away and home friendly matches against England.

"The first match will take place in Wembley on May 29, 2013 and will form part of the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations, while the reciprocal match, to be played at Aviva Stadium, is provisionally scheduled for November 2014."

News of these fixtures come after the FA announced their 150th anniversary would also feature a match in August between England and Scotland -- international football's oldest clash.

Club England managing director Adrian Bevington said: "We're delighted Brazil will kick-off the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations at Wembley.

"2013 is a landmark year for The FA and an exciting England fixture programme in addition to Wembley hosting the UEFA Champions League Final will form a key part of the celebrations.

Bevington added the matches in South America would form a part of England's plans for the 2014 World Cup.

"We have been planning the fixtures in Brazil for over a year, as a key part of our preparation for 2014 -- subject to qualification," he said.

"Our players do not have any experience of playing in South America and it will undoubtedly be beneficial for the team to travel and play in Brazil, a year ahead of the World Cup. We negotiated our qualifying schedule with a specific view to allowing this.

"While in Brazil, The FA and England squad will play an active role in developing and supporting a charity programme both in advance of and during the summer of 2013 and 2014."

England, who've won the World Cup just once -- on home soil in 1966 -- were held to a 1-1 draw by Ukraine in a qualifier at Wembley on Tuesday.

But they remain unbeaten in their quest to get to Brazil 2014, following Friday's 5-0 win in Moldova.

AFP

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