England & Republic of Ireland looking at arranging fixture ahead of Euro 2012

The two nations last met in 1995 when the match was abandoned due to crowd unrest, and are in the process of arranging another encounter ahead of next summer's competition
England and the Republic of Ireland may play a friendly match in the run-up to Euro 2012, 16 years after the last match between the two nations was abandoned following rioting.

Managers Fabio Capello and Giovanni Trapattoni, of England and Republic of Ireland respectively, have reportedly both pushed for the friendly to be played before the Euro 2012 finals, and a match is expected to be arranged provided the two countries are not drawn against each other in the same group in the competition.

England qualified as winners of qualifying Group G,  while Ireland are almost assured of qualification after beating Estonia 4-0 away in the first leg of their play-off which they reached having finished second in Group B behind Russia.

Football Association of Ireland (FAI) chief executive John Delaney told The Mail: “I think there is real enthusiasm, particularly from the English FA, to have England in Dublin sooner rather than later.”

The FAI will be confident that sufficient security measures will be in place to host the England supporters, whose reputation has improved considerably.

Trapattoni added: “We have been speaking for two years but their diary was busy. Now I think England accept, so we wait.”

Ireland assistant coach Marco Tardelli told reporters: “It would be important for us to play against a big team before the finals and it would be a good test.”

It is possible that a friendly with Ireland will take the place of England’s match against the Netherlands, which was to be held at Wembley in August but was postponed amid the London riots. The match between England and Holland could be cancelled if the two are drawn against each other.

The draw for Euro 2012 takes place on December 2 in Kiev.

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