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England book friendlies with Netherlands, Italy

England have arranged friendlies against the Netherlands and Italy in March as they step up their preparations for the World Cup.

Gareth Southgate ’ s side will face the Netherlands in Amsterdam on March 23 before hosting Italy at Wembley four days later .

Both the Netherlands and Italy have failed to qualify for next year’ s tournament in Russia , but Southgate expects them to provide strong opposition as he finetunes his squad.

The Netherlands finished third behind France and Sweden in their qualification group .

Italy will miss the World Cup for the first time since 1958 after losing 1 -0 on aggregate in their two-legged play-off against Sweden .

England are also set to play two further friendlies before the World Cup, but the opponents won ’ t be selected until after the finals draw , which takes place on December 1 in Moscow .

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