England welcome the Republic of Ireland to Wembley as the two sides go head to head for the first time since their last match was infamously abandoned after rioting among English fans broke out at Lansdowne Road back in 1995. The talk ahead of the match is centreing on avoiding another repeat of the chaotic scenes that rocked the football world all those years ago..
Wednesday, 29 May 2013
Venue – Wembley Stadium, London
Local Kick-off Time: 20:00 Local Time
Head-to-head: Played 14, England 5 wins, Republic of Ireland 2 wins, 7 draws
England [match abandoned] Republic of Ireland, International friendly, Dublin, 15 February 1995
Previous 3 matches:
Montenegro 1-1 England, World Cup Qualifier - European, March 26, 2013
San Marino 0-8 England, World Cup Qualifier - European, March 22, 2013
England 2-1 Brazil, International friendly, February 6, 2013
Republic of Ireland:
Republic of Ireland 2-2 Austria, World Cup Qualifier - European, March 26, 2013
Sweden 0-0 Republic of Ireland, World Cup Qualifier - European, March 22, 2013
Republic of Ireland 2-0 Poland, International Friendly, February 6, 2013
Gary Cahill, Ashley Cole, Joleon Lescott, Phil Jones
Frank Lampard, James Milner, Theo Walcott, Michael Carrick
Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe
Republic of Ireland:
Sean St Ledger, John O'Shea, Seamus Coleman, Stephen Kelly
Jon Walters, Aiden McGeady, James McCarthy, Glenn Whelan,
Robbie Keane, Shane Long
ANALYSIS AND TEAM NEWS
England will look to instill some more confidence in their fans ahead of crucial upcoming World Cup qualifiers when they take to the pitch in Wednesday's game against the Republic of Ireland. The match is being billed as 'more than just a friendly' and although mindful of the broader context the match finds itself in, Roy Hodgson will be aiming to prepare his troops for the four remaining matches of their to date average campaign.
The Three Lions sit in second spot behind group leaders Montenegro and could be as far as five points adrift when England take to the field in their next qualifier.
"It is important for me to use this opportunity to look at players once more as we prepare for our final four qualifying matches," manager Roy Hodgson told reporters in the pre-match press conference.
"These fixtures are part of The FA's 150th anniversary celebrations and some have used the word 'friendly' to describe these matches.
"However, in my book there is no such thing - these are crucial preparation matches for the qualification games."
Their inability to score freely under the former Inter Milan, Fulham, Liverpool and West Brom boss has been a cause for concern, after only managing to score more than one goal against lowly minnows San Marino (twice) and Moldova.
Fans will be hoping the gates will be opened against an Ireland side which failed miserably at last year's European Championship, but some late omissions will not do their side any favours. Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard (shoulder) will miss the tussle through injury, while Arsenal's Jack Wilshere (ankle), Manchester United's Tom Cleverley (calf) and Andy Carroll (heel) will also sit out.
Jack Rodwell has been called into the squad to fill in in midfield, while Reading goalkeeper Alex McCarthy has also received his first call-up.
Hodgson finally sent out a call to England fans to avoid any offensive chants, which may fuel the flames in a fixture which means so much to both countries.
"As much as we all want to win, respect for the game and for our opponents is paramount. This game is no different and I strongly urge everyone in the ground to show each other respect and not to chant songs that could be regarded as insulting to others - particularly from a religious or political perspective," he added.
As for Ireland, boss Giovanni Trapattoni is still in the process of remoulding a side which received a shakeup after a number of notable retirements following Euro 2012.
This fixture precedes a home fixture against Georgia and a friendly against Spain in New York. Right in the middle of these two games is a must-win home World Cup Qualifer against the Faroe Islands next Friday, where there is the potential to wrestle back the ascendancy in Group C, where they are vying with Sweden and Austria for second spot.
Stephen Quinn has been ushered into the side after performing well for Hull City this season, while Darren O'Dea and Aiden McGeady will jet in from Canada and Russia respectively to join their team mates at their training base in Watford.
Kevin Doyle will miss the match (Achilles tendon), as will Anthony Pilkington (knee) and midfielder Paul Green (hamstring).
Trapattoni has challenged his players to rise to the occasion, despite not boasting the same high-profile names of his side's opponents.
"We can show them we are the same - that's very important," said Trapattoni. "That's a stimulation for me, it's very important that they show they are every bit as good," he said.
"England are missing Steven Gerrard, Andy Carroll is also out, but they have a strong team. They have others - Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Daniel Sturridge, Danny Welbeck - it's OK, Hodgson has enough offensive players.
"But I have confidence because our team in the last game gave me much trust."
The Republic's goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly weighed in on the talk of the potential for trouble to spark at the match, insisting that he is hopeful that fans remain well-behaved.
"Everybody wants to see a fantastic football game, and that's what we'll want the game to be remembered for. Not for the scenes that we saw back in 1995," he affirmed.
PLAYER TO WATCH: ROBBIE KEANE
The Irish skipper and all-time leading goal scorer finds himself in stupendous form after netting a first half hat trick for his side Los Angeles Galaxy on the weekend.
After initially looking set to miss the match due to it falling outside the international window, his request to be released was heeded, as he looks to add to his impressive tally of 54 goals from 123 matches for his country.
DID YOU KNOW?
The fixture forms part of the English Football Association's 150th year anniversary celebrations.
The first ever meeting between the two sides took place at Dalymount Park in Dublin in 1946, where England were the victors in front of 23,000 spectators.
The two sides last met at Wembley in 1991 in a European Championship qualifier, when the played out a 1-1 draw.
The Republic of Ireland last defeated England at the Euro 88 when Ray Houghton popped up with the winner for Jack Charlton's men.
PREDICTION: England 1-1 Republic of Ireland
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