Euro 2016: England and Wales set for summer showdown in Lens
England and Wales have been drawn in the same group for Euro 2016 with managers Roy Hodgson and Chris Coleman welcoming the clash.
The nations will meet for the first time in a major tournament after they were paired together in Group B.
Roy Hodgson’s side will take on Chris Coleman’s men on Thursday, June 16 in Lens with Russia and Slovakia completing the group for the tournament in France.
“I feel good about it. There was always a very good chance we would meet one of the home nations,” said Hodgson.
“We are very pleased Wales have done so well, and whichever of the teams we got in that pot it would be tough. Why not have a tough one close to home?
“We know all the Wales players - almost all of them play in England. But what we know most of all is the team is very organised, they have a strong spirit and a good spine. In Aaron Ramsey, Ashley Williams and Gareth Bale, they have three really top class players. We have a lot of respect for Wales.
“When it comes to draws though you are just happy you’re name is in the hat because it is such a lottery. You just take what you get.”
Under Coleman Wales have risen up the world rankings and currently sit 17th and the former Fulham manager, who admitted before the draw he did not want to face England, knows he must embrace the game.
He said: “Well, we’ve got them, it will be a great game, it is two good teams and to win 10 games in the campaign is a fantastic return.
“England are one of the best teams, and we looked at it and would have wanted to avoid it, but we look forward to it.
“Roy knows this with his experience, but when you get to a tournament it’s about the 90 minutes on the day and you have to get it right. It does not matter who you play. Slovakia had some great results, and Russia are Russia. You just have to prepare yourselves in the same way.
“I was so honoured and proud to be here, representing Wales was a fantastic feeling. I am very excited, we’re in a group with some hot competition. But that is why we are here, we deserve to be here and I think the tournament will be a fantastic one.”
Wales start their campaign against Slovakia on June 11, the same day as England face Russia in Marseille before the teams meet and then finish the group stage on June 20 as the Three Lions play Slovakia and Wales take on Russia.
Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland side were drawn in Group E, which looks to be the toughest in terms of the path to the knock-out rounds, with Belgium, who are currently top of the FIFA world rankings, Sweden and Italy.
Ireland open against Sweden on June 13, face Belgium on June 18 before finishing against Italy on June 22.
“t couldn’t get tougher. Italy should be in Pot 1, they have not dropped down the rankings that much. Difficult games to look forward for the fans but it could not be tougher for us,” said O’Neill.
“Sweden is a game to look forward to, so let’s go for it. Sweden are not a one man team, they were quite strong in qualifying but Ibrahimovic is a top class player.
“I thought I was going to enjoy the draw, I’m not sure I have done. Now we can take time out to study opposition players so that by the time of the games we know everything about them. There is no reason why we shouldn’t.”
Northern Ireland open their first-ever European Championship campaign against Poland in Nice on June 12.
They then head to Lyon to face Ukraine on June 16 before finishing their Group C campaign against world champions Germany at the Parc de Princes in Paris on June 21.
“The most important thing is to try and take something from your first game. The fixtures maybe work in our favour, playing Poland and Ukraine before Germany, which might be the most demanding physically,” said manager Michael O’Neill.
“I’ve not seen a lot of Ukraine, I know Poland and Germany a bit more of course. But we will do a lot of analysis so that in June we will be ready to play.
“It’s been a fantastic experience to be here and be a part of things. That was a very exciting 45 minutes and now the preparation can start in earnest.
“At the end of the draw the chief executive said to me: ‘Well you have to beat Germany if you want to win the tournament’, and of course that was slightly tongue in cheek, but everybody’s looking forward to it.”
GROUP A: France, Switzerland, Romania, Albania
GROUP B: England, Russia, Slovakia, Wales
GROUP C: Germany, Poland, Ukraine, Northern Ireland
GROUP D: Spain, Croatia, Czech Republic, Turkey
GROUP E: Belgium, Italy, Sweden, Republic of Ireland
GROUP F: Portugal, Austria, Hungary, Iceland
Euro 2016 Fixtures
Friday, June 10
Group A: France v Romania (2000BST, Stade de France, Paris)
Saturday, June 11
Group A: Albania v Switzerland (1400BST, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)
Group B: Wales v Slovakia (1700BST, Stade de Bordeaux)
Group B: England v Russia (2000BST, Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
Sunday, June 12
Group D: Turkey v Croatia (1400BST, Parc des Princes, Paris)
Group C: Poland v Northern Ireland (1700BST, Stade de Nice)
Group C: Germany v Ukraine (2000BST, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)
Monday, June 13
Group D: Spain v Czech Republic (1400BST, Stadium de Toulouse)
Group E: Republic of Ireland v Sweden (1700BST, Stade de France, Paris)
Group E: Belgium v Italy (2000BST, Stade de Lyon)
Tuesday, June 14
Group F: Austria v Hungary (1700BST, Stade de Bordeaux)
Group F: Portugal v Iceland (2000BST, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, St Etienne)
Wednesday, June 15
Group B: Russia v Slovakia (1400BST, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)
Group A: Romania v Switzerland (1700BST, Parc des Princes, Paris)
Group A: France v Albania (2000BST, Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
Thursday, June 16
Group B: England v Wales (1400BST, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)
Group C: Ukraine v Northern Ireland (1700BST, Stade de Lyon)
Group C: Germany v Poland (2000BST, Stade de France, Paris)
Friday, June 17
Group E: Italy v Sweden (1400BST, Stadium de Toulouse)
Group D: Czech Republic v Croatia (1700BST, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, St Etienne)
Group D: Spain v Turkey (2000BST, Stade de Nice)
Saturday, June 18
Group E: Belgium v Republic of Ireland (1400BST, Stade de Bordeaux)
Group F: Iceland v Hungary (1700BST, Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
Group F: Portugal v Austria (2000BST, Parc des Princes, Paris)
Sunday, June 19
Group A: Romania v Albania (2000BST, Stade de Lyon)
Group A: Switzerland v France (2000BST, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)
Monday, June 20
Group B: Russia v Wales (2000BST, Stadium de Toulouse)
Group B: Slovakia v England (2000BST, Stade Geoffroy Guichard)
Tuesday, June 21
Group C: Ukraine v Poland (1700BST, Stade Velodrome)
Group C: Northern Ireland v Germany (1700BST, Parc des Princes)
Group D: Czech Republic v Turkey (2000BST, Stade Bollaert-Delelis)
Group D: Croatia v Spain (2000BST, Stade de Bordeaux)
Wednesday, June 22
Group F: Iceland v Austria (1700BST, Stade de France)
Group F: Hungary v Portugal (1700BST, Stade de Lyon)
Group E: Italy v Republic of Ireland (2000BST, Stade Pierre Mauroy)
Group E: Sweden v Belgium (2000BST, Stade de Nice)
Saturday, June 25:
Last 16, Runner-up Group A v Runner-up Group C (1400BST, Stade Geoffroy Guichard, St Etienne)
Last 16, Winner Group B v Third place in Group A/C/D (1700BST, Parc des Princes, Paris)
Last 16, Winner Group D v Third place in Group B/E/F (2000BST, Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)
Sunday, June 26
Last 16, Winner Group A v Third place in Group C/D/E (1400BST, Stade de Lyon)
Last 16, Winner Group C v Third place in Group A/B/F (1700BST, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)
Last 16, Winner Group F v Runner-up Group E (2000BST, Stadium de Toulouse)
Monday, June 27
Last 16, Winner Group E v Runner-up Group D (1700BST, Stade de France, Paris)
Last 16, Runner-up Group B v Runner-up Group F (2000BST, Stade de Nice)
Thursday, June 30: Quarter-final 1 (2000BST, Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
Friday, July 1: Quarter-final 2, (2000BST, Stade Pierre Mauroy, Lille)
Saturday, July 2: Quarter-final 3, (2000BST, Stade de Bordeaux)
Sunday, July 3: Quarter-final 4, (2000BST, Stade de France, Paris)
Wednesday, July 6: Semi-final, Winner Quarter-final 1 v Winner Quarter-final 2 (2000BST, Stade de Lyon)
Thursday, July 7: Semi-final, Winner Quarter-final 3 v Winner Quarter-final 4 (2000BST, Stade Velodrome, Marseille)
Sunday, July 10: (2000BST, Stade de France, Paris)