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England set for Netherlands, Italy friendlies in March ahead of World Cup

England will play Netherlands and Italy in March as part of their preparations for next summer's World Cup, the Football Association has confirmed.

Gareth Southgate's squad will travel to the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam on March 23 before hosting Italy at Wembley on March 27.

Neither nation qualified for the World Cup after Netherlands finished third in their group behind France and Sweden, and Italy were beaten by the latter in a two-legged playoff, losing 1-0 on aggregate after Monday's 0-0 draw in Milan.

However, the friendlies continue the trend of England facing prestigious opposition after last week's 0-0 draw with world champions Germany and the upcoming friendly against Brazil on Tuesday.

The draw for the World Cup will take place in Moscow on Dec. 1 and England, currently 12th in the FIFA World Ranking, are set to be named in Pot 2.

They are, therefore, set to be drawn alongside one of Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Belgium, Argentina, France, Poland or hosts Russia, who are all in Pot 1, in the group stage.

Dan is ESPN FC's Tottenham correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Dan_KP.

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