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Ireland lining up England friendly

The Republic of Ireland are hoping to line up a friendly against England if they secure their place at the Euro 2012 finals.

Giovanni Trapattoni's men will take a 4-0 lead into Tuesday night's play-off second leg with Estonia at the Aviva Stadium and provided they do not succumb to a fightback of remarkable proportions, will be heading for Poland and the Ukraine next summer.

They will prepare with a series of friendlies, and Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney has indicated that England's long-awaited return to Dublin could be among them as long as the sides were not pitched into battle in the finals draw on December 2.

He told the Sunday Independent: ''I think there is a real enthusiasm, particularly from the English FA, to have England in Dublin sooner rather than later.''

The two sides have not met in the city since 1995 when their friendly game was abandoned after just 27 minutes because of crowd trouble at Lansdowne Road. At the time, Ireland manager (and 1966 World Cup winner with England) Jack Charlton said he had "seen a lot in football but nothing like this".

England have been touted as possible visitors to the redeveloped Aviva Stadium for some time, but the fixture has yet to come off.

Trapattoni, said: "Maybe we already have this appointment. We have spoken, for two years maybe. Two years we ask them but the diary was busy. Now I think England accept. We wait.

"We have played France, Italy, Croatia, Russia … we meet Germany in the future [in the 2014 World Cup campaign]. We have met 50% of the great teams."

"I think it is possible to play England in a friendly," assistant Marco Tardelli added. "And it will be a good thing for England and for us. It is very important to play against a big team before the tournament. I think we would do well against England. Why not? It's possible."

England have already agreed to play a friendly against Sweden and become their first opponents in their new 50,000 seater national stadium when it is opened in Stockholm in November 2012.

The tie was a part of the arrangement for the friendly at Wembley on Tuesday night, while Ireland's focus will be on qualifying for Euro 2012 by finishing off the job against Estonia.


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