England manager Roy Hodgson and Wales counterpart Chris Coleman are eagerly anticipating their all-British Euro 2016 group match in Lens next year following Saturday’s draw for the finals.
The neighbours, who first played each other in 1879, last met in the Euro 2012 qualifiers with England winning 2-0 in Cardiff and 1-0 at Wembley. They also clashed in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers with England triumphing home and away.
The two teams have been drawn together in Group B along with Russia and Slovakia and they will meet in Lens on June 16.
“There was a very good chance we would meet one of the home nations in the draw,” said Hodgson. “I am pleased that Chris and his boys have done so well. It’s been exciting following their progress.
“Whatever team we would have got out of that pot it would have been a tough one so why not have a tough one close to home,” Hodgson added after the draw at the Palais des Congress.
Northern Ireland could also have been drawn to play England from Pot 4 but instead were grouped with world champions Germany, Ukraine and Poland.
Coleman declared before the draw he would prefer not to meet England because he wanted to avoid the media circus that would surround the match but said afterwards: “We have got them and it’s going to be a great game.
“Two good teams, obviously, and for them to win 10 games in their qualifying was fantastic. England are one of the best teams and we are looking forward to it.”
Wales players Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal and Ashley Williams of Swansea City are Premier League regulars, while Gareth Bale of Real Madrid played for Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur before moving to Spain for a world record transfer fee of 85 million pounds ($129.33 million) in 2013.
The two teams have met 101 times, with England winning 66, Wales 14 and 21 drawn. They played each other every season until the Home International championship ended in 1984, which was also the last time Wales beat England, winning 1-0 in Wrexham.