Star-studded friendlies make for taxing Euro 2016 build-up

 
Ross McLean
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ENGLAND football bosses have taken steps to ensure the Three Lions face top quality opposition ahead of the 2016 European Championships by announcing high-profile friendlies against world champions Germany and France.

The Football Association (FA) is also in talks with Holland and European title-holders Spain in a bid to design a programme which tests England against the continent’s elite and compensates for a lack of competitiveness in their Euro 2016 qualifying group.

Roy Hodgson’s side currently top Group E by six points having returned a perfect record from four matches, with the benefit of high-intensity friendlies demonstrated by England’s clash with Scotland at Celtic Park on Tuesday.

The FA has already announced a friendly clash against Italy in March 2015 and a showdown with Republic of Ireland at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin on 7 June, while England will now host France on 17 November before heading to Germany in March 2016. “It’s very encouraging that our search for opposition in the international weeks has led to quality teams,” said Hodgson.

“They will complement the important Euro qualifiers which remain the top priority and we are taking nothing for granted. However, these six potential fixtures will provide the type of test we’re looking for going forward.”