England and Wales paired together at Euro 2016

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England and Wales will meet for the first time in a major tournament after they were drawn in the same group for Euro 2016.

Roy Hodgson's men take on Chris Coleman's side on Thursday June 16 in Lens in what will be the teams' second match in Group B.

It was the draw Coleman had been hoping to avoid, but Russia and Slovakia are the other opponents in the group meaning the most daunting rivals had been avoided.

Northern Ireland were drawn in Group C with world champions Germany, plus Poland and Ukraine.

Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland side were drawn in Group E, which looks to be the toughest in terms of the path to the knock-out rounds, with Belgium, who are currently top of the FIFA world rankings, Sweden and Italy.

England kick off their campaign in Marseille on Saturday, June 11 against Russia, meet Wales five days later, and end the group against Slovakia in St Etienne on Monday, June 20.

Marseille, Lens, and St Etienne were also the venues for three of England's matches in the 1998 World Cup in France, memorable for goals by Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Michael Owen.

Northern Ireland open their first-ever European Championship campaign against Poland in Nice on June 12.

They then head to Lyon to face Ukraine on June 16 before finishing their Group C campaign against Germany at the Parc de Princes in Paris on June 21.

The Republic of Ireland have been handed a huge task and start their Group E bid against Sweden in the Stade de France on June 13.

Martin O'Neill's side travel to Bordeaux to face Belgium on June 18 and finish the group stage against Italy in the Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille.

Former England captain Alan Shearer believes players from the Three Lions and Wales will relish their game but played down England's chances in the overall tournament.

"I heard Chris Coleman say beforehand he didn't want to play England but deep down both him and Roy (Hodgson) will be delighted. For the players to play against players they know very well, it's a game they will all look forward to," he told the BBC.

"For the first time in a long time we're (England) going into a tournament, without being disrespectful to any players, without any real superstars. We have a good team and some good youngsters coming through.

"If we're honest it might be a little bit early but we have (Gary) Cahill, (Ross) Barkley, (John) Stones and a very good keeper (Joe Hart). Who knows? We're just looking for a bit of progression with England."

Ex-Wales and Arsenal striker John Hartson believes Wales must look at their opening game against Slovakia in Bordeaux as a golden chance.

He said: "Look at Russia and England, they are a lot stronger than Slovakia. Wales kick off against Slovakia so it's an opportunity to get three points on the board as early as you can. One win may be enough to take you through."


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