Much-improved England get the chance to judge just how far they have advanced under coach Fabio Capello when they face European champions Spain in one of several potentially outstanding friendlies on Wednesday. Spain, who are also ranked number one in the world by FIFA, are unbeaten in 28 matches since losing a friendly to Romania in November 2006, and pose a real threat to England's new-found confidence, honed by four successive World Cup qualifying victories and a 2-1 win over Germany in Berlin last November. David Beckham will equal 1966 World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore's record of 108 caps for an England outfield player if he plays a part in what Capello believes will be a tough test for his squad. Around 20 friendlies are taking place across Europe and there is likely to be another intriguing game in Marseille where France play Argentina in Diego Maradona's second match in charge of the South Americans -- a game that should feature Barcelona team mates Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi duelling for scoring honours. Germany coach Joachim Loew has recalled captain Michael Ballack and midfielder Torsten Frings for a game against Norway in Dusseldorf after a public dispute over tactics with the pair last year. His Portugal counterpart Carlos Queiroz, whose side have struggled in World Cup qualifying, has named three debutants in his squad to play Finland in Faro on Wednesday. Three European World Cup qualifiers are also taking place, including Ireland against Georgia, and 2010 hosts South Africa get another chance to fine tune their stuttering side when they play Chile.
10 February 2009
Get FourFourTwo interviews, features and fun in your inbox every week. For free!
Thank you for registering for our Newsletter
We will send regular updates on the ongoing FourFourTwo updates to the email address you have supplied.