Saturday, 02 June 2012, 07:49 GMT
England, Holland set for Euro dress rehearsals


England's Andy Carroll during a team training session on June 1. England has selected similar opposition for their last friendly match before the tournament,/AFP

AFP

England open their Euro campaign against France in Donetsk on June 11

England, the Netherlands and Portugal have one last chance to make adjustments ahead of 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 June 11 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 Holland 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.

Bert van Marwijk's beaten 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 Holland'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."

Beaten 3-1 by Brazil last weekend, Denmark tackle Australia in Copenhagen on Saturday, while fellow Group B adversaries Portugal meet Turkey in Lisbon.

After successive 0-0 draws against Poland and latterly Macedonia, Cristiano Ronaldo and co are bidding to score their first goals since the 6-2 thrashing of Bosnia-Herzegovina in the second leg of their play-off victory in November.

Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland host Andorra in Warsaw, looking to build on a quietly encouraging run of form that has seen them draw with Portugal before back-to-back 1-0 wins over Latvia and Slovakia.

Poland will raise the curtain on this summer's tournament when they meet Greece in their opening Group A fixture at Warsaw's National Stadium on June 8.