England football dates for your diary

England's summer friendly against Holland fell victim to the London riots. The England football team will now have to head into their vital European Championship qualifiers without the chance to experiment or try out new players.

The remaining 3 qualifiers not only have to be negotiated successfully, but they also have to show the development of a coherent team capable of doing themselves justice in next summer's finals in Poland and Ukraine. No pressure then . . .

England face a tricky trip to Bulgaria on September 2. The match will be played at the Vasil Levski Stadium in Sofia, with kick-off at 7.15pm UK time. England will hope to have important young players like Jack Wilshere and Andy Carroll fit and in form for the game, where they need 3 points to underline their hopes of automatic qualification.

The following Tuesday, on September 6, England host Wales at Wembley. On paper this should be a straightforward enough fixture. If England carry some confidence from the Bulgaria game into this match, they should win, but any nervousness or hesitation might be exploited by a Welsh team who would love to upset the English at Wembley.  Welsh fans will hope that their promising young stars Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Jack Collison will be at their best. Kick-off is at 7.45pm.

The final qualifier, against Montenegro, in the City Stadium, Podgorica, takes place on Friday October 7. This should turn out to be the group decider, and will be a key match for Fabio Capello and for England football. Kick-off time has yet to be decided, but you might like to book your sofa or a seat at the pub for the whole evening!




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