England to face Holland ahead of crucial qualifiers

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The Independent Football

England will open what they hope will be a glorious 2009-10 campaign with a friendly against Holland in Amsterdam on 12 August next year.

Fabio Capello's men conclude their World Cup qualifying campaign in the two months afterwards with key encounters against Croatia and the Ukraine.

And the Italian views Holland, who reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2008, as ideal warm-up opponents.

England last played in Amsterdam a couple of years ago, when Wayne Rooney netted in a 1-1 draw.

As part of the deal, Holland will come to Wembley in August 2011, with Under-21 fixtures being played before each senior international.

Next year's game will be broadcast live on ITV, with Setanta screening the return.

The announcement means the 2009 fixture calendar is almost complete as friendlies will also be played against Slovenia and Slovakia in March and September respectively.

Aside from the November dates, which would be required for World Cup play-offs, the only one still to be filled is 12 February, when England are expected to play Spain.

Although the fixture itself has been agreed, the FA are still waiting to hear where their Spanish counterparts would prefer to play.