England face flying Dutch

AMSTERDAM - The two teams with the best record in European World Cup qualifying will go head to head today when the Netherlands host England in a friendly.

AMSTERDAM - The two teams with the best record in European World Cup qualifying will go head to head today when the Netherlands host England in a friendly.

Both teams have won all seven games in qualifying so far, and the Dutch have already clinched a spot in next year's tournament in South Africa. England can secure their berth with a win over Croatia at Wembley next month.

Now both teams are looking to test themselves against top competition.

"The game is a good chance for us against one really important country," England coach Fabio Capello said.

"It will be a good test before we play Croatia."

The last time England met one of Europe's traditional football powers was in February, when Capello's side ended a nine-game winning streak with a 2-0 loss to Spain in another friendly. Spain are the only other team with a perfect record in qualifying, but they have played only six matches so far.

The Dutch will field the same young side that has looked strong throughout qualifying, and some of the team's top stars will be using the game to send messages to their club teams.

Forward Arjen Robben and midfielders Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart have all faced limited playing time at Real Madrid amid mounting transfer speculation.

"There is very little they can do to help the situation," Dutch coach Bert Marwijk said. "We have come this far together so I don't see any reason why I should drop them now." - Sapa-AP

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