EURO 2016: Northern Ireland to host Belarus in final home warm-up game

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'Neill

Northern Ireland will host Belarus at Windsor Park in their final home warm-up game for this summer’s Euros.

The Vauxhall International Challenge Match will be played in Belfast on Friday, May 27 (7.45pm).

Following the game Northern Ireland will travel to Austria for a week-long training camp before playing their final Euros preparation game against fellow European Championship finalists Slovakia at the new City Arena stadium in Trnava on June 4 (kick-off time TBC).

The fixture against Belarus will provide an opportunity for Northern Ireland fans to wish the team good luck as they prepare for Euro 2016 in France.

Belarus played in the same qualifying group as Ukraine, who Northern Ireland face in their second group game at the finals, and automatic qualifiers Spain and Slovakia. They ended their qualifying campaign strongly with wins over Luxembourg and Slovakia and a draw against Macedonia.

Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill said: “Belarus have had a solid season so far and they will provide a good test for us as we build towards our first game in France.

“The game, of course, will also act as a send-off for the team so I’m sure there will be a great atmosphere in the stadium, which the players will really appreciate.”

The game on May 27 will be Northern Ireland’s first ever international against Belarus.

Most of the Belarus players play their club football in their own country – six players from European club competition regulars BATE Borisov featured in their last squad – or in Russia.

Their squad includes Egor Filipenko, who plays for Malaga in La Liga, Stanislaw Drahun of Russian side Dynamo Moscow, BATE star Mikhail Gordeichuk and Anton Putsila, a key player for Turkish side Gaziantepspor.

Following the training camp in Austria and the game in Slovakia, Northern Ireland will jet off to their base camp in France to complete their preparations for their first group game at the Euros – against Poland in Nice on June 12.​

Ticket details for the Belarus fixture will be announced in the coming weeks.