England confirm Euro 2004 plans

January 30, 2004

Sven-Goran Eriksson will complete his build-up for the Euro 2004 finals with a three-way mini-tournament against Japan and Iceland at the City of Manchester Stadium, it was announced today.

The event will feature the 23 players which Eriksson will have already chosen for the European Championships as he attempts to find his first-choice starting XI.

The England coach said: 'These are our last warm-up games before Euro 2004, so this tournament is crucial preparation.

'Both of our opponents have very good individual players - household names like (Eidur) Gudjohnsen and (Hidetoshi) Nakata - and are playing good football at the moment. I'm looking forward to the games.

'We had an amazing welcome from the Japanese fans during the World Cup and I'm sure the people of Manchester will return the compliment.'

Japan, who made such an impact at the 2002 World Cup, could also feature players with Premiership experience such as Kazuyuki Toda and Junichi Inamoto.

Iceland, meanwhile, may not only boast Chelsea's Gudjohnsen, but also Watford's Heidar Helguson and Charlton's Hermann Hreidarsson, and they finished just a point behind second-placed Scotland in their Euro 2004 qualifying group.

While Iceland will play Japan first on May 30, England will then take on Japan on June 1 followed by Iceland on June 5 in the first internationals to be staged at the recent Commonwealth Games stadium.

FA chief executive Mark Palios told the FA's website: 'The City of Manchester Stadium is one of the finest new venues in the country and the perfect stage for this major tournament.

'We're delighted to take the team back to Manchester, where they've traditionally enjoyed such phenomenal support.'

Manchester City chairman John Wardle added: 'This is terrific news for the City of Manchester Stadium and a great privilege to be hosting these three international games. We are looking forward to it immensely.'