Euro 2016: England drawn in same group as Wales


England will play Wales at next summer’s European Championship after both were drawn in Group B.

Chris Coleman said on the eve of the draw he would take any team other than England and the associated “circus” the fixture would bring.

But the Wales manager must now prepare his side for a meeting with Roy Hodgson’s men on June 16 in Lens in a Group B also featuring Russia and Slovakia.

Wales, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland were all among the fourth-seeded teams, almost guaranteeing a tough draw, and Martin O’Neill’s side in particular were left with an imposing-looking task.

Italy, Sweden and the world’s top-ranked team Belgium will be their Group E opponents, while Northern Ireland must tackle World Cup winners Germany in Group C along with Poland and Ukraine.

England will face Russia first, in Marseille on 11 June, then Wales on 16 June in the northern city of Lens. Finally it will be Slovakia in St Etienne on 20 June.

Hodgson said: “Obviously that’s the one that’s going to excite the imagination. We always knew there was a good chance we’d get Wales, Ireland or Northern Ireland. I’ve got to say I’m more than happy it’s Wales.

“They are a very good team, Chris [Coleman] has done a very good job. We haven’t played them for some while. It’s strange – they are a team I haven’t had a chance to play against in my career, including with Switzerland and Finland. So for me it will be a first.

“I’ve been very impressed with Wales – they have a strong spine. Ashley Williams has done a magnificent job at centre-half. They’ve got a good goalkeeper in Wayne Hennessey. They have made sure they can get the best out of Gareth Bale, who is a world star. We’ll know about their threats, just as they will know about our threats.

“We will be prepared, they will be prepared. When the whistle blows, all the discussions and speculation and permutations that people imagine to happen stop, and people have to get out and play football.

“It will be an incredible atmosphere [at Lens].”

“We’ve been lucky with the venues. Marseille is an iconic venue and St Etienne. Russia and Slovakia are teams we know less about but we will know every bit as much about them by the time the tournament comes around. Our preparation and research begins now.”