#1
There is to be a "Battle of Britain" at Euro 2016.

The draw for the tournament took place in Paris yesterday - and England and Wales were drawn together in Group B. It will be the first time that two of the UK Home Nations have faced each other at a major finals since England played Scotland at Euro 96 in England. Wales are playing in the first major tournament since the 1958 Sweden World Cup. Russia and Slovakia were also drawn in Group B, and England's opening match of the tournament will be against Russia.

Hosts France were drawn in Group A with Albania, Romania and Switzerland. The opening match of the tournament will be France vs Romania at Stade de France on June 10th.

The other British side in the tournament, Northern Ireland, playing in their first major tournament since the 1986 Mexico World Cup, face tough opposition in Germany, Ukraine and Poland in Group C.

Next year's European Championships has been expanded from 16 teams, the number participtaing since Euro 96 in England, to 24 teams.
The top two from each group will go through to the last 16, while the best four third-placed teams also progress - meaning only eight teams are eliminated in the group stages.


Euro 2016 draw: England to face Wales in France


BBC Sport
12 December 2015



Wales and England will meet at Euro 2016 after being drawn together in Group B for next summer's finals in France.

Russia and Slovakia are the other teams in their group.

European Championship debutants Northern Ireland are in Group C with world champions Germany, Poland and Ukraine.

The Republic of Ireland are up against the world's top-ranked side Belgium, Italy and Sweden in Group E.

The first game of the tournament will be at the Stade de France between France and Romania on Friday, 10 June at 20:00 BST.



Wales' match against England is the second game for both countries in their group, in Lens on Thursday, 16 June.

Northern Ireland kick off their group against Poland on Sunday, 12 June and end it against Germany nine days later.

The Republic face Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden in their 13 June opener and conclude their group games against Italy on 22 June.

This year's tournament is the largest European Championship ever, with 24 teams.

The top two from each group will go through to the last 16, while the best four third-placed teams also progress - meaning only eight teams are eliminated in the group stages.

England and Wales meet in Group B


England v Wales will be played in Lens


This is Wales' first tournament appearance in 58 years, and boss Chris Coleman had said he wanted to avoid England because it would be "viewed as a battle of Britain" and a "distraction".

But his fears were realised early on in the draw, with the top seeds drawn first - followed by the bottom seeds.

And employers may have to brace themselves for a lot of leave requests on Thursday, 16 June because England's meeting with Wales is a 14:00 BST kick-off.

The winners of Group B will face a third-placed team in the last 16, while the runners-up will face the team who finish second in a group comprising Portugal, Iceland, Austria and Hungary.

Managers and pundits react

England manager Roy Hodgson told BBC Sport: "I feel good about it. There was always a very good chance we would meet one of the home nations. Wales are very organised, they have a strong spirit and a good spine."

Wales boss Chris Coleman: "Well, we've got them, it will be a great game. We would have wanted to avoid it, but we look forward to it. We deserve to be here and I think the tournament will be a fantastic one."

Read more of Coleman's and Hodgson's thoughts here.

Former England striker Alan Shearer:
"For the first time in a long time England will go to a tournament without any real stars. It might be early for them but we do have Cahill, Barkley and Stones, and a very good goalkeeper in Hart.

"Overall, England have to be very pleased with the group they have been drawn in. Yes, it will be tough but if we don't get out of that group there will be something very wrong."

Former Wales striker John Hartson: "I wanted that. It's a great game for supporters, for television, and the players will look forward to it. I think players from both countries will be pleased with that."

Ex-Wales captain Kevin Ratcliffe: "I'd rather be playing England than France, Germany or Spain. There are other countries that actually scare me more than they do."


Wales and Arsenal midfielder Aaron Ramsey is looking forward to Euro 2016



BBC Sport's former England striker Gary Lineker is feeling confident


England and Wales fixtures (all times BST)

Saturday, 11 June
Wales v Slovakia (17:00; Stade de Bordeaux)
England v Russia (20:00; Stade Velodrome, Marseille)

Thursday, 16 June
England v Wales (14:00; Stade Bollaert-Delelis, Lens)

Monday, 20 June
Russia v Wales (20:00; Stadium de Toulouse)
Slovakia v England (20:00; Stade Geoffroy Guichard, Saint-Etienne)

Most recent meetings
Slovakia 2-5 Wales (September 2007)
Russia 2-1 England (October 2007)
England 1-0 Wales (September 2011)
Wales 1-3 Russia (September 2009)
England 4-0 Slovakia (March 2009)


BBC Sport - Euro 2016 draw: England to face Wales in France