Republic of Ireland keen on England showdown

Keith Andrews and Stephen Hunt want to face England at Euro 2012 instead of a proposed friendly in Dublin

ireland
The Republic of Ireland have not faced England since 1995 Photo: Clare Courier

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Republic of Ireland duo Keith Andrews and Stephen Hunt have admitted they would relish a clash against England at Euro 2012.

Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney has recently revealed an interest in staging a friendly between the two nations for the first time since 1995.

And Andrews greeted the proposal with enthusiasm – but he admitted he would prefer to face England at next summer’s tournament in Poland and Ukraine.

“It would be fantastic,” said Andrews. “We haven’t played England in such a long time. “They have well and truly qualified for the Euros and it would be nice to pit ourselves against them.

“They had a fantastic result [against Spain] yesterday. We play against them week in, week out in the Premier League, and to play against them would be something I am sure both sets of fans would love.

“We would settle for a 1-0 win maybe in the group stages if we got them. But I am sure [a friendly] would be a fantastic game if that could be sorted.”

And Hunt agreed that he would much prefer to face Fabio Capello’s side in a competitive fixture, with Ireland on the verge of clinching a spot at Euro 2012 following their 4-0 first leg play-off win in Estonia.

“If we play against England, I would rather play against them in the tournament than a friendly because let’s be honest about it, friendlies are irrelevant,” said the Wolverhampton Wanderers winger.

“It would be nice to beat them, of course. They are our main rivals and they play against Wales and Scotland all the time.

“It would be nice to play against them of course, but I would prefer it at the tournament.”

Delaney had earlier revealed the FAI’s interest in staging a friendly with England after the last game between the pair was abandoned after 27 minutes at Lansdowne Road over 16 years ago.

“I think there is a real enthusiasm, particularly from the English FA, to have England in Dublin sooner rather than later,” he said.

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