England’s Road to Brazil 2014
For many, the bitter taste of defeat will still be lingering, but barely two months on from penalty heartache in Kiev and Roy’s Boys will hit the road again to fight it out for a place at World Cup 2014 in Brazil. If you’re planning to support the lads on the continent, one thing’s for sure, you’ll be heading east. England visit both the host nations of Euro 2012 along with Montenegro, Moldova and San Marino. Here’s the lowdown on planning your trips.
[England's travelling faithful by fsf.images]
Moldova vs England
England’s campaign kicks off against Moldova in Chisinau (or Kishinev as you’ll often find it spelt) on Friday 7th September 2012. This was the location England’s first game in their World Cup 98 qualification campaign back in 1996. England strolled to a 3-0 win and would eventually top the group ahead of Italy, Poland and Georgia.
Travel services operate from Heathrow via multiple airlines, including Moldovan national airline TAROM, which is typically the cheapest. There are also Lufthansa services from Manchester and Birmingham. A return flight will set you back approximately £400, which will test the resolve of even the most diehard of traveling fans.
Poland vs England
Next up is a trip to Poland at the National Stadium in Warsaw on Tuesday 16th October 2012, which hosted a number of games during Euro 2012 including the semi-final between Germany and Italy.
The teams last faced off against each other in the qualifiers for World Cup 2006, with England winning both matches 2-1
Journeys between Poland and the U.K. are becoming more and more popular so prices have fallen, look out for a cheap deal. You have plenty of routes to choose from, flights depart regularly from Heathrow, Manchester, Doncaster, Newcastle, Liverpool, Bristol and Birmingham.
San Marino vs England
Friday 22nd March 2013 see’s England head to group whipping-boys San Marino. The last time these two faced was back in 1993 during the World Cup 1994 qualifiers. The game is best remembered for the shock early goal from Davide Gualtieri of San Marino, which holds the record for the fastest goal in World Cup history. England would go on to win 7-1, but that couldn’t help them from missing out on qualification.
Getting to San Marino for is slightly tricky, as the principality itself is barely big enough for a kickabout, let alone an airport. It is however, situated on one of Italy’s most stunning stretches of coastline, equidistant from the beautiful cities of Bologna, Venice and Florence. Low-cost airlines EasyJet and RyanAir offer cheap fares to all three. Alternatively you can fly to smaller airports at Forli (50km away) or Rimini (10km). RyanAir services start at £110.
Montenegro vs England
Across The Adriatic Sea, just four days later, Steven Gerrard and co. will take on Montenegro. Fans will remember Montenegro as the location where Wayne Rooney was sent off for kicking out at Montenegrin defender Miodrag Džudović back in November 2011. The action earned him a two game ban, which meant he sat out England’s two opening matches of Euro 2012.
The location of the game is as yet unconfirmed, but direct flights from the U.K. into Tivat or Podgorica start at £250 from London or Manchester.
Ukraine vs England
England conclude their away campaign on Tuesday 10th September 2013 in the Ukraine. The teams were last grouped together in qualification for World Cup 2010. England’s away tie saw Rob Green become the first England goalkeeper in history to be sent off. England fans will also remember that game as the country’s first competitive match to be screened exclusively on the internet.
Once again the location of the game is unconfirmed but airline travel is available from over 20 airports around the British Isles at cheap rates.
Kris Bannister is QPR fan and travel writer for BookFHR.com.