Gareth Southgate’s England side will warm up for the rescheduled Euro 2020 with friendlies against Austria and Romania.
The Three Lions had an agreement to play both sides last summer before the outbreak of Covid-19 curtailed the tournament.
England will play Austria on Wednesday, June 2 with Romania set for Sunday, June 6.
This summer’s tournament is still facing elements of uncertainty due to the pandemic, with initial plans to stage the competition across 12 European cities under scrutiny as respective nations battle to keep coronavirus under control.
It is also unknown if fans will be able to attend, although it seems extremely unlikely that stadiums will be filled to capacity even with vaccines being steadily administered across the continent.
The Three Lions could also face Scotland in their group, if Steve Clarke’s side win their play-off in March, with Israel, Serbia and Norway also vying it out for the final place in Group D.
Gareth Southgate’s side will face Croatia in their opening game of the tournament before they face the Playoff C winners and the finally Czech Republic.
England are also boosted by the huge advantage of hosting all of their group stage games at Wembley.
If the Three Lions win Group D, they will face the runners-up of Group F in the last-16, which includes France, Portugal and Germany.
If they finish runners-up, they will face the runners-up of Group E, which includes Spain, Sweden and Poland.
Southgate, who has his own strong memories good and bad of playing at Euro 96 on home soil, was his usual measured self afterwards but one sensed he was satisfied.
‘The two teams we know we’ve got (Croatia and Czech Republic), we have good results and poor results against them,’ he said. ‘It’s nothing to be complacent about but everyone not in Group F will be pleased about that.
‘Croatia at Wembley is a brilliant opening game for the fans and the players. We have had three really tight games with them, with very little between the teams. In the last game, (Mateo) Kovacic was on the bench which shows the quality they have in midfield. There is a contrast. They have hugely experienced players throughout the team. We are the other end of the scale. Very young, lots of energy but improving. It is a nice contrast.’
‘You can’t make up for losing a World Cup semi-final unfortunately. We felt like that after beating them in the Nations League. It was nice to win but it didn’t redress it. But this is a really attractive fixture.’
Of the consequences of finishing runners-up, Southgate saw the parallels at the last World Cup without going as far as saying England would ‘throw’ their final game, against the Czechs on June 23.
‘In the end, we want to win every game we play and have control of our destiny. Fortune will take you wherever it takes you,’ he said. At this stage, he is thinking of nothing but qualifying. ‘You need a strategy of getting out the group. There are three games, not one.’
The next international break falls next month, with England scheduled to play San Marino, Albania and Poland from March 25-31 in World Cup qualifying.
England Football Tickets – Euro 2020
13 June: England v Croatia (Wembley)
Friday 18 June: England v Scotland (Wembley)
Tuesday 22 June: England v Czech Republic (Wembley)