Spain is ranked number 1 in the world by FIFA, having won the most recent World Cup in 2010 and each of the last two European Championships in 2008 and 2012. They are undefeated in their last 20 overall matches dating back to November 15, 2011, notching 16 wins and four draws over the span.
The Republic of Ireland, led by manager Giovanni Trapattoni, participated in Euro 2012 and narrowly missed qualification for the 2010 World Cup. Currently, the team is ranked 39th in the world out of 209 FIFA-sanctioned countries.
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The Spain-Republic of Ireland friendly will mark the fourth soccer match at the current Yankee Stadium and the second this year following the May 25 meeting between Manchester City and Chelsea. The first match took place on July 22, 2012, with Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain playing to a 1-1 draw in front of 38,202 fans. On August 8, 2012, Real Madrid defeated A.C. Milan, 5-1, before a sellout crowd of 49,474 as Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals.
The current Yankee Stadium carries on the great soccer tradition of the original Yankee Stadium, which hosted some of the most famous teams in world soccer, including Manchester United, Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspur, Barcelona, A.C. Milan, Juventus, Napoli, Celtic, Benfica and Sparta Prague, along with the national teams of England, Israel, Italy and the United States. Pele, who many consider the greatest player of all time, called Yankee Stadium home in 1976, when he played for the New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League.