PARIS (Reuters) – England manager Roy Hodgson & 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 & 1-0 at Wembley. They moreover clashed in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers with England triumphing home & away.
The two teams have been drawn together in Group B along with Russia & Slovakia & they will meet in Lens on June 16.
"There was a very satisfactory chance we would meet one of the home nations in the draw," said Hodgson. "I am pleased that Chris & his boys have done so well. It's been thrilling following their progress.
"Whatever team we would have received 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 moreover have been drawn to play England from Pot 4 yet instead were grouped with world champions Germany, Ukraine & 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 yet said afterwards: "We have received them & it's going to be a tremendous game.
"Two satisfactory teams, obviously, & for them to win 10 games in their qualifying was fantastic. England are one of the best teams & we are looking forward to it."
Wales players Aaron Ramsey of Arsenal & Ashley Williams of Swansea City are Premier League regulars, while Gareth Bale of Real Madrid played for Southampton & Tottenham Hotspur before moving to Spain for a world record transfer fee of 85 million pounds in 2013.
The two teams have met 101 times, with England winning 66, Wales 14 & 21 drawn. They played each other every season until the Home International championship ended in 1984, which was moreover the last time Wales beat England, winning 1-0 in Wrexham.
(Writing by Mike Collett in London; Editing by Ken Ferris)