It’s R’s against the world!

Loftus Road/Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium has obviously been home to the R’s for many years and has seen the boys in the hoops play at various levels across the English football pyramid.

But did you know QPR have played friendlies against three nations, with HQ playing host to two of the club v country friendlies.

In 1998 Jamaica visited Loftus Road for Simons Barker’s testimonial Infront of a massive crowd close to capacity. Steve Slade netted for the R’s but the Reggae Boyz left W12 with a 2-1 as they prepared for their first ever World Cup in 1998.

Our fortunes on the international stage would change for the better when Iran came to town in 2005. Iran had just qualified for the 2006 World Cup in Germany when they made the trip to West London. Despite backed by a sizeable Iranian support they couldn’t stop QPR legend Paul Furlong opening the scoring before half-time before Gareth Ainsworth and George Santos completed the scoring in the second half.

In all seriousness the match was played during a turbulent time for western/middle eastern relations and Ian Holloway who was manager summed up the match and the occasion perfectly. “First of all, sport wins, doesn’t it? I just feel that everybody in the stadium showed what the world is about. The world’s about people. It’s not about certain attitudes of people who hide behind certain banners to cause trouble. I just wish that we could live together in the harmony that this world deserves.”

Lastly but not least was probably Queens Park Rangers most favourite or at least memorable fixture against a nation. I am of course talking about the famous abandoned match against the Chinese Olympic team in February 2007.

The match took place at Rangers Harlington training ground and the sour note and tone was set early on when both sets of players flew into dangerous tackles and after one to many bad tackles both sides came to blows which resulted in punches, kung fu kicks, being displayed and once the brawl had settled Chinese player Zheng Tao was unconscious paired with two cracks in his jaw. Leaving referee Dermot Gallagher no choice to abandon the game. The police were called, and assistant manager Richard Hill was arrested by Police before being released on bail and the club were charged by the FA.

Loftus Road has also been host to a number of international fixtures not involving the R’s.

Loftus Road has hosted two England B internationals. The first was against France B in 1992 with the hosts winning 2 – 0 and the other was against Russia in 1998 with England winning comfortably 4 – 1.

Jamaica made the return to W12 to play Nigeria in 2002 only to lose 1-0. Australia drew 1-1 with Ghana a few months after the 2006 World Cup. The Australians would return in 2007 but lost 3-1 to Denmark before drawing 2-2 with South Africa in 2008. South Korea made a second trip to Loftus Road in 2010 beating The Ivory Coast 2-0.

International Rugby was also a feature in the early 2000s when Rugby League came to town. Australia faced off with New Zealand with the Aussies running out 32-16 winners.

Great Britain graced the hallowed turf the year and faced with New Zealand in the Rugby League Tri-Nations with the Kiwi’s leaving London with a 42-26 win.

Will we ever see international friendlies back at Loftus Road? Or even another QPR v country friendly? If these previous matches tell us anything it’s that everything and anything is possible should the Hoops grace the international stage again.

Written by Conor Martin

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