Newcastle United’s St. James’ Park will host England’s crucial World Cup qualifier with Albania, The Football Association announced this morning.

England’s penultimate fixture in the qualifying rounds for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea will take place on Wednesday 5 September, five days after Sven Goran Eriksson’s side play Germany in Munich.

‘We are delighted to be bringing the senior England team to Tyneside,’ said Paul Barber, F.A. Director of Marketing. ‘Everyone is fully aware of the region being the traditional hot bed of football so St. James’ Park was an obvious choice for such an important fixture.

‘It’s a fantastic stadium in which the supporters generate an atmosphere which is second to none and I know that Sven has been hugely impressed on his visits to the stadium. He is relishing the prospect of bringing England here.’

Newcastle United Chairman Freddy Shepherd was delighted with The F.A.’s decision. ‘We are honoured that St. James’ Park has been chosen to host this crucial World Cup qualifying fixture. It is testament to the hard work and investment we have put into developing the stadium in recent years that The F.A. has selected Newcastle United for the visit of Albania,’ he said.

‘I’m sure our fans will be very proud that their stadium has been chosen for this prestigious match.’

St. James’ Park has hosted four previous England internationals, the last one being a 4-0 victory over Norway in 1938. Newcastle was also a host venue during Euro 96.

With Wembley redevelopment, The F.A. is committed to taking England on the road over the next three years, providing as many people around the country as is possible with the opportunity to see the national team in action.

Tickets will go on general sale to the public via the England ticket hotline – 0870 9020005 – at 9am on Thursday 22 March.

For further information, please contact:

Press Office
The Football Association
Tel: +44 20 7402 7151
Fax: +44 20 7745 4546