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Wembley bid for Euro 2020 opener

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The Football Association is bidding to bring the opening game of Euro 2020 to Wembley.

It was already known that the FA was keen to bring the final to England's national football stadium, but the first match also carries high prestige.

FA general secretary Alex Horne told The Times: "On the basis that someone needs to stand up, we have done it.

"It's a big game, the opening game. It would be great for London, for Wembley. I pushed it to UEFA, quietly at the moment, but we are going to make a play for it with our bid."

The UEFA tournament will be staged in cities across Europe, rather than being held in one or two countries as has been the norm.

Istanbul has been widely viewed as the favourite to be awarded the final, with a decision on venues expected to be announced in September of this year.

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Horne's focus in the early part of this summer will fall on the World Cup, as England head to Brazil.

Group games against Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica could make it difficult for Roy Hodgson's team to go beyond the group stage, but the FA general secretary has firm belief in the manager's ability.

Hodgson signed a four-year contract when appointed in 2012 and Horne is certain the former Fulham and Liverpool manager will be the right man to lead the mission to Euro 2016 in France.

He said: "For me personally, Roy is our manager to France and I'm happy with that, very happy with that. I think he's been brilliant. He's exactly what we hoped for."

Horne insists Hodgson has already achieved a "pass mark" by guiding England through qualifying.

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"For me personally, he's done it by getting through that group," said Horne. "We go optimistic that we are going to enjoy it and play well."

Horne also suggested it would be "possible in the next five years" for Wembley to be home to an NFL American football team. The stadium has already staged matches in the NFL season, and is due to hold three matches later this year.

Horne said: "You may see a franchise discussion come up. There is a big question about whether we can house a franchise alongside England in the autumn. That will be really interesting. It would need an owner to do it."

Horne even believes Wembley could stage the highlight of the NFL year.

"Then we can get the Super Bowl," he added. "You don't rule anything out."

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