Surprised Wales to meet Brazil at White Hart Lane

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The Independent Online

Wales confirmed last night that they will take on Brazil in London on 5 September. After initially being surprised by Brazil's announcement of the fixture, officials from the Football Association of Wales contacted their South American counterparts and agreed to the match at White Hart Lane.

David Collins, the FAW secretary general, cleared up the confusion, after an FAW spokesman had earlier declared: "We have not heard from the Brazilians for weeks." It is believed that the financial package on offer for John Toshack's team to travel to London was too good to turn down and the game will now take place two days after Brazil play Argentina at Arsenal's new Emirates Stadium.

The fixture leaves big problems for manager Toshack and the Wales administrative staff.

It is believed that Toshack was not too keen on the match going ahead at such short notice. Wales play their opening Euro 2008 qualifier in the Czech Republic on 2 September.

The manager is reluctant to overburden his players and upset their clubs by arranging friendlies during a busy period. Liverpool and Manchester United are unlikely to want Craig Bellamy and Ryan Giggs to play in a friendly international a week before a round of Champions' League games. The fear is that Toshack will have a reduced, inexperienced squad.

The FAW have been told that they must play Israel in the European Under-21 Championship in the Netherlands next Wednesday. The game had been moved from Herzelia, near Tel Aviv, on Uefa instructions. It is likely that the game will be in Tilburg.

Gerry Armstrong has stepped down as Northern Ireland's assistant manager, citing personal and business reasons. They face Finland in Helsinki next Wed-nesday in a warm-up for the Euro 2008 qualifiers and Armstrong, whose wife, Debby, is pregnant, felt he could no longer give the job the time it required.

Wishing the team the best of fortune, Armstrong said: "It is not in the best interests of the IFA [Irish Football Association] or the team for me to continue."

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