Graham Kelly, the Football Association's chief executive, is confident that contingency plans drawn up when the war in the former Yugoslavia worsened will see alternative opposition confirmed within the next few days.
"We're finalising the negotiations and we will be announcing alternative opponents, hopefully very attractive ones, very quickly," Kelly said.
The FA still hopes to play Croatia before next summer, but the postponement is a setback for Terry Venables, the England coach. However, Colombia could provide the testing opposition Venables wants. They finished third in this year's Copa America, although they disappointed in the 1994 World Cup.
The alternative opponents, Egypt, currently lead their six-team group in the African Nations' Cup.
n Bobby Robson, the former England manager now in charge of Porto, is recovering at home after an operation in a London hospital to remove a cyst from his nasal cavity. Jorge Pinto da Costa, the Porto president, gave details of the operation yesterday but dismissed a newspaper report that Robson had had emergency surgery to remove a cancerous growth in his intestine. He said that Robson was due back in Oporto in "one or two weeks" but that he still needed some plastic surgery to correct the damage done to his mouth in the operation.Reuse content