The Football Association has announced a marquee friendly for August 14th 2013, and it’s going to be an absolute humdinger. In a little under 14 months, England will host the oldest of foes in the latest rematch of international football’s first ever fixture: Scotland are coming back to Wembley.
This fixture is a big deal for both England and Scotland, and will be particularly welcome for traditionalists. England first played Scotland in 1872, when the match was as much about competing interpretations of a burgeoning game as about the birth of one of football’s most important strands, the international match.
Home internationals have dried up in recent years, which for some fans is a source of great irritation. I’ve never quite decided how keen I’d be for home internationals to return on a regular basis, but when this particular fixture lands on the docket the excitement begins to build immediately. You can’t beat a good old-fashioned rivalry in football, and rivalries don’t get much bigger or much older than this.
England last faced Scotland in 1999, when Scotland came to Wembley for the second leg of the UEFA Euro 2000 qualifying playoff and won, albeit not by enough of a margin to win the tie overall.
Next August the game will form part of the celebrations of the Football Association’s 150th anniversary, and according to the FA’s announcement it will be followed by more high-profile friendlies at Wembley. The Scotland fixture is sure to be a noisy and rowdy affair, and will surely be played out between first choice teams to the inevitable displeasure of managers in the Premier League.
It’s difficult to get the juices flowing for friendlies sometimes, and the August slot in particular can be a slightly limp affair. Not this time.
(Photo credit: Dave McLear via Flickr)