England organise prestige friendly versus Germany
England`s great soccer rivalry with Germany will be rekindled over the next two years after the English FA announced on Thursday it had organised four high profile friendlies against Germany, Spain, Italy and France.
Monaco: England`s great soccer rivalry with Germany will be rekindled over the next two years after the English FA announced on Thursday it had organised four high profile friendlies against Germany, Spain, Italy and France.
The matches would come as a counterpoint to a series of low-key Euro 2016 qualifiers against San Marino, Estonia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Switzerland in the same timeframe.
FA general secretary Alex Horne told reporters in Monaco, where he was attending a UEFA meeting, the dates had yet to be confirmed but the matches, against four of the last five World Cup-winning teams, should prove hugely beneficial to England, who failed to survive this year`s World Cup group stage.
He also said next week`s friendly against Norway at Wembley is likely to have the lowest attendance for an England international since the stadium was rebuilt and reopened in 2007.
"We have got a set of friendlies to go with the qualifiers right through to March 2016 all arranged," Horne said.
"We will be playing the bigger European countries – it makes more sense to prepare for a European tournament by playing European opposition so we have put less of an emphasis on non-Europeans over the next two years.
"Home and away we will be playing France, Spain, Italy and Germany."
When England play Norway on Wednesday only the lower tier of seats will be used with Horne explaining: "We are expecting 35-40,000. It will be the lowest crowd we have had at Wembley, the average England gate is 79,000 so it is disappointing.
"We have got some work to do, we have to rebuild a squad which is Roy Hodgson`s department, and we have got to rebuild some trust with the supporters.
"We have got incredible loyal supporters, we had 5,000 who went to (the World Cup in) Brazil and were disappointed, and we are working hard on what we can give them, what content, what price we can give them to make them feel part of the England experience."
He also said England were hopeful of being awarded the right to stage the Euro 2020 semi-finals and final when European soccer`s governing body UEFA name the 13 venues to hold the pan-European championship in six years` time.
There are 19 countries bidding for the right to stage games with the English FA and the German FA the only ones bidding to stage the last three matches package.
England would hold those games at Wembley, Germany is proposing Munich, but Horne added: "We think the Germans are going to push to stage the whole 2024 tournament and that could leave the way clear for us to host the final matches in 2020."
Horne added that England were considering a bid to stage the European championship in 2028. They last held the tournament in 1996 when Germany won the title.