The Republic of Ireland will host a major European club final for the first time after Lansdowne Road, Dublin was selected as the venue for the 2011 UEFA Europa League final by the UEFA Executive Committee at their meeting in Nyon.
Europa League final
The stadium is currently under construction following the demolition of the old ground in the summer of 2007, but is set for completion early next year. The new 50,000-seat venue will be home to both the Republic of Ireland's football and rugby union teams, with the UEFA Europa League final set to crown a historic first full season for the new arena.
The modern stadium will usher in a new era for Lansdowne Road which has been used as a sporting venue since 1876, when the first cinder track was laid for the All-Ireland Athletics Championships. It is with rugby union, however, that the old ground is synonymous. That same year, Lansdowne Road also played host to its first rugby union match between Leinster and Ulster, and the ground soon became home to Irish rugby, with the national side playing its first international there against England in 1878.
It was not until the 1980s that the stadium was regularly used for international football, with the highest attendance for a match at the old ground set at 48,500 for a 3-2 FIFA World Cup qualifying victory against France on 14 October 1981. Other famous Lansdowne Road wins include a 2-0 triumph over Bulgaria in October 1987 which paved the way for Ireland's first qualification for a major finals, the 1988 UEFA European Championship, while in September 2001, Jason McAteer's goal gave an Irish team reduced to ten men a 1-0 success over the Netherlands en route to qualification for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
The final international football match played at the old stadium also ended on a high note for the home side with a 5-0 win against San Marino on 15 November 2006. Fittingly, though, rugby union had the last hurrah, seeing out the old ground as it had opened it with Leinster playing Ulster in front of 48,000 spectators on 31 December 2006.
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