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Rewind to Boxing Day 1963

Barclays Premier League
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Vermaelen eager to face England

Thomas Vermaelen is hoping a groin injury does not rule him out of Belgium's friendly with England on Saturday.

The Arsenal defender played on with the problem during the final few weeks of a frustrating Premier League season spent blighted by injury - including surgery for an ankle problem - and is a doubt to make the starting line-up at Wembley.

But Vermaelen is determined to play a part against England in their last friendly match before the Three Lions fly out to Euro 2012.

"I've been struggling for a few weeks now with my groin," Vermaelen told Sky Sports News. "Of course, it's a friendly game, but it's a big game for us against England at Wembley.

"Everybody wants to play in that game and I'm doing everything to get fit to play in that game."

Vermaelen is well aware of the quality within the England team, having played either with or against most of the 23-man squad, and is confident that his Belgium team-mates know what they are up against this weekend.

"I think everybody watches a lot of the English games in the national team so I'm not worried," he added.

"Everybody knows the players from England and everybody knows the quality, so it's not a big problem."

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