The FA today announced that Ipswich Town F.C. will host England's friendly fixtu
The FA today announced that Ipswich Town F.C. will host England's friendly fixture with Croatia...
England's first match of the new season will take place at 30,250-capacity Portman Road on Wednesday, August 20th (8.00pm kick off).
This will be the first senior international to be held at Ipswich Town, but Portman Road has been the scene for several encounters at junior levels, including four Under-21s matches (v Switzerland in 1980, Romania in 1985, Albania in 1989 and Czech Republic in 1998) and an Under-23s match against the Swiss in 1971. However, arguably the most memorable occasion was the 14 February 2002, when over 20,000 fans turned out to roar England's Under-19s to a 3-1 victory over Germany with local boy Darren Bent scoring twice.
Croatia are a relatively young country but boast a proud football tradition. Affiliated to FIFA in 1992, they claimed third place at the World Cup in France six years later, with Davor Suker finishing as tournament top scorer. The only previous meeting at senior level between England and Croatia was a 0-0 draw at Wembley on 24 April 1996.
Croatia come into the game on the back of a good run of form, currently occupying second place in European Championship Qualifying Group 8 behind Bulgaria, and will provide a stiff test for Sven-Goran Eriksson's team.
When announcing the fixture, The FA's Director of Marketing and Communications Paul Barber said: "We're delighted to be staging a senior international at Portman Road which is a superb stadium and an ideal venue for this game.
"This will be the 13th different stadium used since we started taking our senior matches around the country. Since February 2001 the England team has played in the North East, the North West, the West Midlands, the East Midlands, the South Coast, Yorkshire, London and now East Anglia.
"Past international matches at Ipswich have shown the passion of the local fans and the club fully deserves to host a full senior international. It will be the first international match of the new season and I'm sure we can look forward to a tremendous atmosphere in front of a capacity crowd in August."
Ipswich Town Chairman David Sheepshanks added:
"It is a tremendous honour and I am really proud for this club that we have been selected to host a full international at Portman Road. It is a reflection on the huge improvements made in recent years to our pitch and stadium, as well as the professionalism of our staff that operate and service it. Most of all however, it is recognition for the sporting fans of East Anglia, whose fervent support of both this club and our various neighbours, has earned us the right to stage such a prestige occasion in our region."
The General Sale commenced at 10.00 am on Sunday 13th July from 0870 902 0005 or www.ticketmaster.co.uk. This match has now sold out.
Corporate Hospitality Enquiries please ring 0208 795 9770
England at Portman Road
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