International news

Afghanistan vs. England match backed

December 17, 2013
By ESPN staff

Michael Owen has said it would be "fantastic" if England played Afghanistan at Wembley to mark the end of the war against the Taliban.

Wembley Stadium
GettyImagesWembley could host a match between England and Afghanistan.

This week, former England and Liverpool forward Owen visited British troops in Helmand with UK Prime Minister David Cameron to announce a Football Association initiative to aid Afghanistan's football development.

During the visit, Owen, an FA ambassador, offered his backing for England to host Afghanistan to mark the drawdown.

Owen said in the Daily Mirror: "It would be fantastic. There could be a fully-fledged game at Wembley one day that would be fantastic to mark the occasion.

"It would be great to mark the end of the conflict with a game -- certainly at Wembley that would be a great occasion."

Cameron added: "I was reflecting today that soon this incredible piece of service by British troops will come to an end and we'll have to think how best to mark that.

"If you take 2001 to 2014 it is a very long continuous operation and as a nation we'll need to think how best to mark that, much as we did with previous operations, and I'm sure there will be many, very dignified national events that should take place.

"We can discuss that in the future. But the idea of one part of it being a football match is a nice idea. I think football has an immense ability to bring people together, bring countries together and as we leave Afghanistan we are not leaving it alone in the world.

"We are going to go on funding its Armed Services, we are going to go on supporting its development. We are going to be helping it have a football league."

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