England and Ireland Announce Friendly Showdown in Dublin for June 2015

Nick Akerman@NakermanFeatured ColumnistApril 8, 2014

England's Phil Jagielka, right, competes with Republic of Ireland's Simon Cox during their international friendly soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London, Wednesday, May 29, 2013. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth

England will travel to Dublin for an enticing fixture with the Republic of Ireland on June 7, 2015, announced by the FAI:

The Three Lions journey across the Irish sea in preparation for their Euro 2016 campaign. This arrangement is part of the deal that saw Ireland travel to Wembley for the FA's 150th anniversary celebrations, a match that ended 1-1 back in 2013.

Roy Hodgson's side will use the occasion to prepare for a competitive fixture with Slovenia, which takes place one week later. Martin O'Neill, newly installed as Ireland boss, will use the fixture to examine his side ahead of a difficult Group D schedule against Germany, Poland, Scotland, Georgia and minnows Gibraltar.

Kirsty Wigglesworth

Club England Managing Director Adrian Bevington suggested friendly tests are an important aspect of the nation's development, as reported by The FA:

We have had recent visits to France to begin initial plans for that tournament, and our friendly matches will also form a key part in the qualification campaign and preparation. It will be a significant moment for England to play in Dublin again, and due to the hard work by both Organisations on many fronts we fully expect it to be a fantastic occasion enjoyed by both sets of fans.

Shane Long and Frank Lampard netted the last time these two met. England's matches with their neighbouring nations are often feisty, but Ireland's positioning as a sovereign state on the outskirts of the United Kingdom ensures there's always political undertones to the clash.

Alastair Grant

Although this fixture is over one year away, it's likely England will head into the match as favourites. The founders of football have beaten Ireland five times, losing two and drawing seven, reported by The FA. Many Irish players—including Long, Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy and John O'Shea—currently reside in the English Premier League.

The match takes place 20 years after neo-Nazi organisation Combat 18 caused an infamous riot during the same fixture at Lansdowne Road. It will be just the second fixture between the two sides since this incident, last year's draw being the first.

Both nations showed the contest can be played in high spirits during the most recent meeting. Ireland will be looking to raise their game in front of an excited Aviva Stadium crowd, while England will hope to avoid an upset.

Alastair Grant

The teams are sure to feature plenty of changes in the next 12 months. Right now, June 7, 2015, is certainly a date to mark on your calendars.