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Ireland and Wales open Nations Cup

Ireland will meet Wales in the opening game of the Carling Nations Cup.

The four-team competition, which will be staged in Dublin, will start in February 2011 with Northern Ireland and Scotland also taking part.

Giovanni Trapattoni's Ireland open proceedings against the Welsh on Tuesday, February 9 with Northern Ireland and Scotland clashing a day later.

Trapattoni said: "The Carling Nations Cup is a tournament that we would very much like to win, particularly playing at home in Dublin.

"The matches will provide us with a good opportunity to see our players in games with a real competitive edge at an important time in our bid to qualify for 2012."

Northern Ireland boss Nigel Worthington is another relishing the tournament.

He said: "I am really looking forward to the Carling Nations Cup, as competitive games against our neighbouring countries don't come around too often.

"There are bragging rights at stake here, not only for the fans but also for the players as no-one will want to lose against their closest rivals. Northern Ireland are more than capable of winning this tournament and we hope to get off to a good start against Scotland in February."

Scotland boss Craig Levein added: "Now that the schedule has been announced we are really looking forward to our visit to Dublin next year.

"This exciting new competition brings together four groups of passionate fans and also allows me to test my squad, in a competitive environment, in the middle of our Euro 2012 qualifying campaign."


From Belfast Telegraph