Spain will be good yardstick says Capello

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The Independent Football

Fabio Capello believes next week's friendly opponents, Spain, will provide a good yardstick for his improving England team to measure themselves against.

England have won their last five matches under Capello, including impressive away triumphs over Croatia and Germany, and are currently five points clear at the top of their World Cup qualifying group.

It is an impressive turnaround for a nation whose failure to reach Euro 2008 prompted the Football Association to look to Capello some 14 months ago, but next week they will come up against a team who are in even more formidable form.

Spain are unbeaten in their last 28 matches stretching back two years, while last year they were triumphant in all 16 of their games - including the penalty shoot-out victory over Italy at Euro 2008 - while scoring 33 goals and conceding only five in the process.

During that run they also clinched the European Championship title and took over as the number one-ranked team in the world for the first time.

Like England, they also currently sit atop their World Cup qualifying group with a maximum 12-point haul, four more than second-placed Turkey.

It promises to be a tough test for England at Sevilla's Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, but Capello is excited about the prospect of measuring his side against the Spanish.

"I'm looking forward to playing in Seville, it's going to be very special," said the Italian, who spent two spells coaching in Spain with Real Madrid.

"I've always wanted to play in Spain with England and we are very happy to be facing the champions of Europe. At the Pizjuan we will see at what level we find ourselves."

Coincidentally, Spain started their current long unbeaten run with a 1-0 friendly victory over England in Manchester in February 2007, having lost their previous game at home to Romania.

Barcelona midfielder Andres Iniesta scored the only goal of that match at Old Trafford, and Capello knows it is likely to be another testing night for England next week against a Spain side he believes are the strongest in the world at the minute.

"For the team they have, age and level of confidence, it's Spain. Today they are one of the best in the world. Then it's Argentina, Brazil, Italy... the usual," he added in Marca.