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Welsh FA confirm England Millennium Stadium sell-out

The Millennium Stadium
The Welsh football team once regularly sold out the Millennium Stadium

Wales' national football team have confirmed a first Millennium Stadium sell-out for five-and-a-half years in their Euro 2012 qualifier with England.

The Football Association of Wales have sold all 69,000 tickets for the first home and first competitive game for new boss Gary Speed on Saturday, 26 March.

An statement on the FAW website reads: "This match is now sold out and there are no more tickets available."

Wales' last home qualifying crowd in a 1-0 defeat by Bulgaria was just 18,800.

Wales' last Millennium Stadium full house was also against England - a 1-0 defeat in September 2005 when Joe Cole scored the winner in a 2006 World Cup qualifier in front of 70,715 fans in Europe's 12th-biggest sporting arena.

Jonathan Ford
It is Gary's first home game and our 100th game against England

Football Association of Wales chief executive Jonathan Ford

Wales once boasted being the best supported nation in Europe when Mark Hughes' men came close to qualifying for the 2004 European Championships.

The Welsh football team then averaged crowds of 73,000 during the Euro 2004 qualifiers, a campaign that ended in a 0-1 disappointment to Russia in front of 73,062 fans at the Millennium Stadium in November 2003.

But the Welsh national team have been in transition since the retirements of star players such as Gary Speed, Ryan Giggs, Robbie Savage, Mark Delaney, John Hartson, Andy Melville and Mark Pembridge.

Welsh fans endured indifferent and often frustrating performances when John Toshack replaced Hughes as Wales boss.

And after playing internationals at the Cardiff City Stadium, Swansea's Liberty Stadium and Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli, England's visit to Wales will be the first football international at the Millennium Stadium since September 2009.

It means new Wales boss Speed, the skipper when Wales regularly attracted sell-outs during their Euro 2004 campaign, will lead his team out in his first game at home to a full house.

BBC archive: 1984 - Wales 1-0 England

Welsh FA chief executive Jonathan Ford concedes the attraction of watching England stars Wayne Rooney, Steven Gerrard etc would have lured supporters.

But he said: "It is England but it is Gary's first home game and our 100th game against England.

"And with that many Welsh fans inside the stadium, I am sure they are going to will Wales to win.

"We certainly hope this big attendance is the start of something good for Welsh football.

"A lot of nations similar to ourselves qualify for tournaments by not only though team performance, which is critically important, but by the will of a nation and we need a will of a nation here as well.

"All those things combined, with a good team performance and a great manager on board then hopefully we will be much more competitive in the future."

BBC archive: 1980 - Wales 4-1 England

The visit of Fabio Capello's England will be Speed's first home game in charge of Wales after he began his tenure with a 3-0 Carling Nations Cup loss at Republic of Ireland on 8 February.

Wales have won just one of their last seven internationals - a home triumph against Luxembourg - and have not beaten England in Cardiff since 1955.

The Wales v England crowd will be smaller than the Millennium Stadium's capacity because supporters will need segregation for the 2012 European Championship Group G qualifier.

Ford confirmed all but 10% of tickets had gone to Welsh fans and the full house was helped by the FAW's new kick-back scheme where local clubs sell tickets and retain a 25% of the money.



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see also
Speed turns attention to England
09 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Wales to match England - Ricketts
10 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Republic of Ireland 3-0 Wales
08 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Dutchman appointed Speed deputy
06 Feb 11 |  Welsh
Wales unveil Speed as new manager
14 Dec 10 |  Welsh
Wales to face England in Cardiff
11 Nov 10 |  Welsh
England and Wales 2012 dates set
25 Mar 10 |  Football
Wales qualifier venue may change
25 Aug 09 |  Welsh
Wales 1-3 Russia
09 Sep 09 |  Internationals
Wales 0-1 England
03 Sep 05 |  Internationals
Wales' international fixtures
22 Aug 07 |  Welsh
Wales' results archive
10 Oct 05 |  Welsh
Pick your Wales XI
05 Feb 07 |  Welsh
Welsh football history
25 Mar 10 |  Welsh
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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