England V Australia

The Football Association today announced that England will play Australia on Wednesday, February 12, 2003 at West Ham United's Boleyn Ground at Upton Park.

This historic fixture will be the first time the two nations have met each other in England, although there has been five matches played previously in Australia, the last of which was in Sydney in 1991.

Australia have made considerable progress in world football terms since the two sides last met 11 years ago, narrowly missing out on qualification to the 1998 and 2002 World Cups at the play-off stage.

Most of the Australian team now play their club football in Europe, including several in the Premier League: Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Paul Okon (Leeds United), Mark Schwarzer, Tony Vidmar (Middlesbrough), Danny Tiatto (Manchester City), Lucas Neill (Blackburn Rovers) and Stan Lazaridis (Birmingham).

The FA's Director of Marketing and Communications, Paul Barber, says: "We're delighted to be hosting this historic fixture - Australia are one of the fastest developing football nations in the world and I'm sure this will be a fantastic occasion for fans of both countries - not least because it follows on so soon after cricket's Ashes series.

"We are very pleased to be taking this match to the Boleyn Ground, a top class stadium with an excellent playing surface, for what should be a fantastic occasion.

"We chose London for this match as it will be 18 months since the senior England team last played in the capital.

"Additionally, the very large ex-patriate Australian population in London can get easy access to the match and help create the traditionally fantastic atmosphere at West Ham."

Soccer Australia Chairman Ian Knop said: "With the many great Australian players currently playing in the top flight in England, not to mention the long tradition of great sporting contests between the two nations, I'm sure this match will be a great event and initiate much interest both in Australia and in the UK."

West Ham United Chairman, Terence Brown, says: "I am delighted the club has been chosen by The Football Association to host a full England International at the Boleyn Ground.

"This will be the first time West Ham United stages a Senior International, although the club is entertaining the England Under-20s when they play Switzerland here in December.

"The Boleyn Ground at Upton Park is now considered one of the finest stadia in the Premiership and it will provide the perfect venue for this prestigious fixture."

The complete record between England and Australia is:

1980 Australia 1 England 2, Sydney
1983 Australia 0 England 0, Sydney
1983 Australia 0 England 1, Brisbane
1983 Australia 1 England 1, Melbourne
1991 Australia 0 England 1, Sydney

The club will also be hosting The FA Vase Final at Upton Park on Saturday 10th May 2003, kick off 3.00pm