England, Netherlands set for EURO dress rehearsals

International fixtures Saturday Denmark     vs     Australia Poland     vs     Andorra England     vs     Belgium Norway     vs     Croatia
Injured midfielder Frank Lampard has been ruled out of 2012 Euros for England. Net photo.
Injured midfielder Frank Lampard has been ruled out of 2012 Euros for England. Net photo.

International fixtures
Saturday
Denmark     vs     Australia
Poland     vs     Andorra
England     vs     Belgium
Norway     vs     Croatia
Netherlands     vs     N. Ireland
Portugal     vs     Turkey

LONDON - England, Netherlands and Portugal have one last chance to make adjustments ahead of UEFA EURO 2012 as they gear up for their final pre-tournament warm-up matches on Saturday.

England open their Euro campaign against France in Donetsk on 11 June and they have selected similar opposition for their last friendly match before the tournament, with Belgium the visitors to Wembley this weekend.

Belgium’s Eden Hazard is likely to be the centre of attention after revealing that he will join Chelsea from Lille this summer, but it is also England’s final opportunity to perfect their tactics before the squad fly out to Poland next week.

The Three Lions prevailed 1-0 against Norway in Oslo last Saturday, in what was manager Roy Hodgson’s first game in charge.

Manchester United winger Ashley Young scored the game’s only goal and he said he was looking forward to renewing his partnership with striker Andy Carroll, who will start England’s first two games due to Wayne Rooney’s suspension.

“We have got to keep the performances up,” said Young. “I think (the partnership with Carroll) went well. We’ve been working together in training and it worked with the goal. There is a good combination between us.”

Despite early signs of promise in the Carroll-Young tandem, Hodgson faces serious problems in midfield, having lost both Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard to injury in the past week.

Striker Danny Welbeck is short of fitness, having injured his ankle while playing for Manchester United in April, while Liverpool right-back Glen Johnson is struggling with an infected toe.

England’s last Wembley appearance saw them beaten 3-2 by the Netherlands in February, but the Dutch have endured mixed fortunes since, losing in successive friendlies to Bayern Munich and Bulgaria before bouncing back to defeat Slovakia 2-0 on Wednesday.

Oranje’s final hit-out

Bert van Marwijk’s beaten FIFA World Cup™ finalists face Northern Ireland at Ajax’s Amsterdam Arena on Saturday, seven days before they take on 1992 champions Denmark in their opening Euro 2012 Group B assignment in Kharkiv.

Wesley Sneijder hobbled off with an ankle injury against Slovakia and although it was only a precaution, it could give Tottenham Hotspur’s Rafael van der Vaart an opportunity to start against Northern Ireland.

“Every minute I see as an opportunity,” said van der Vaart, who claimed the Netherland’s second goal against the Slovaks in Rotterdam with a rare right-footed effort.

“The coach has always chosen Wesley in my position, so I have not played there a lot lately. When you start on the bench, you always hope to be given enough time to be able to prove yourself.”

 

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