Argentina request friendly in Wales

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The Independent Online

Argentina are desperate for indoor practice before they face England in the World Cup under the roof of Sapporo's space-age stadium in Japan.

Cheekily, they want to do it in England's back yard – they have asked if Wales will play them under the roof of Cardiff's Millennium Stadium on 13 February.

England have asked the Dutch FA to have the roof of the Amsterdam ArenA shut when they face the Netherlands on the same night.

The fax requesting the game only arrived at the Football Association of Wales offices in Cardiff on Thursday night, and the FAW spent yesterday scrambling to organise the match.

The FAW's international secretary, Mark Evans, said: "We really want to play this match. We have filled the stadium to play Brazil and we could do it again, something like 70,000 fans, for this one. The problem is having only 10 days to organise it, which is very tough.

"We will be working all over the weekend and will then make a decision first thing on Monday morning."

England have agreed to play a friendly international in South Africa for the first time, probably at the end of next season.

The FA said there was little chance of staging it before then, because of a crowded schedule caused by the World Cup finals and qualifying for the 2004 European Championship in Portugal.

The two nations have met just once before, at Old Trafford in May 1997, when England won 2-1 with goals by Ian Wright and Rob Lee.

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