Argentina line up England friendly

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The Independent Football

Argentina have arranged to play England in a friendly in Geneva on 12 November if Sven Goran Eriksson's side have qualified for the World Cup, the Argentinian Football Association said yesterday.

The match would serve as a warm-up for the 2006 finals in Germany, for which Argentina qualified in June with a 3-1 victory over Brazil. If England are involved in a two-leg qualification play-off during November 12-16, Argentina will play another top European nation. The Football Association last night confirmed the AFA's announcement.

England are second in qualifying Group Six, two points behind Poland, who have played a game more.

Eriksson's team, who were routed 4-1 by Denmark in a friendly on Wednesday, have four qualifiers left, against Wales, Northern Ireland, Austria and the Poles.

Craig Bellamy has been ruled out of Wales' home clash with England next month due to a thigh injury picked up in training.

The Wales coach John Toshack included the Blackburn striker in his 25-man squad to face England in Cardiff on 3 September and Poland in Warsaw four days later, but said he would not be fit for the first game.

Also included in the squad was the Manchester City defender Ben Thatcher, who is suspended for the England game but eligible for the trip to Poland, and Mark Delaney, whose knee injury makes him doubtful for both games. There was no place for the midfielder Robbie Savage, however, whose international career looks to be over.

Savage retired from international football after criticising Toshack before his appointment last November. He later changed his mind but Toshack has shown no inclination to recall him.

Wales have no chance of qualifying but their results against England and Poland could have a major bearing on who claims the automatic qualification place.

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