England set date with Egypt

Fabio Capello gets wish of playing African team ahead of next year’s World Cup finals.

Amr Zaki
England could reacquaint themselves with former Wigan striker Amr Zaki [EPA]

England will begin their countdown to next year’s World Cup with a friendly international against Egypt at London’s Wembley Stadium.

After this month’s draw in Cape Town, England manager Fabio Capello said he wanted the side to play against African opponents – something they’ve yet to do under the Italian – as Algeria will be one of their Group C rivals in South Africa.

“I think we will play March 3 at Wembley, against Egypt, then we have to find the date to play against Mexico,” Capello said following the draw.

“All the friendly games we played were against European teams and we know the style of these teams. We have to play against South Americans and African teams with a different style.”

However, Monday’s statement from the FA said no other England fixture details had been confirmed at this time.

Group C also features the United States and Slovenia.

Capello would like England to play Mexico in May as he believes they will provide his team with a useful warm-up ahead of their World Cup opener against the United States on June 12 in Rustenburg.

Japan in line

England are planning to play one more friendly ahead of the World Cup, with Japan the likely opponents, following a pre-tournament training camp in Austria.

Egypt, who’ve yet to play at Wembley, only missed out on a place in the 2010 World Cup finals after losing a tense play-off to Algeria last month.

England have played Egypt just twice previously, most recently at the 1990 World Cup in Italy.

Then a goal from England centre-back Mark Wright was all that separated the teams as the late Sir Bobby Robson’s side advanced to the second round.

Four years earlier, again under Robson, England won a friendly in Cairo 4-0.

A home win at Wembley in March would give England their 500th victory.

England have won the World Cup just once in their history, when they beat the then West Germany 4-2 after extra-time at Wembley in the 1966 final.

Source: AFP


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