2013 looks certain to be a thrilling year to be an England supporter. The Football Association is really pushing the boat out for its 150th anniversary celebrations next year, and two more marquee friendly matches are now confirmed for Wembley as part of a fixture list that is taking shape beautifully.
The friendly international against Scotland has been confirmed for Wednesday 14th August 2013, and will now be preceded by two games against Brazil and the expected match against the Republic of Ireland.
Brazil visit Wembley on Wednesday 6th February 2013, and England will play them again in Brazil in June – a second fixture in Brazil is due to be confirmed to complete a short post-season tour in lieu of qualifiers, of which England have none at the end of the domestic season.
Before heading for Brazil, Roy Hodgson’s side will host Ireland on Wednesday 29th May 2013. There had been talk of a return to Dublin this year, but England’s remaining 2012 friendly will take place in Sweden and Ireland will face England at Wembley next year instead.
With the two fixtures in South America to be confirmed, 2013 will be a bumper year of 11 England fixtures. It’s a prospect that excites me, a worthy docket for the FA’s celebration. It’s the perfect mix of competitive matches and mouthwatering friendly matches, and an opportunity to see Brazil back at Wembley as well as test our mettle against a couple of local rivals who’ll be desperate to spoil the party.
More importantly, it’s great preparation for what we hope will be a FIFA World Cup year. As well as providing genuine tests on the field, a couple of matches in South America before the World Cup – as the FA’s official announcement notes – will do England no harm at all, particularly as our players have largely never played there.
This is a real opportunity for England to get the public juices flowing again and win back some support for the national team. I can’t wait.
(Photo credit: bahianoticias via Flickr)