England will play friendlies against Italy and the Netherlands in spring next year ahead of the 2018 World Cup.

Gareth Southgate’s side will travel to Amsterdam to face the Netherlands at the Johan Cruyff Arena on March 23 before hosting Italy at Wembley on March 27.

England announced the fixtures just hours after Italy’s failure to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia following a 1-0 aggregate defeat to Sweden in their play-off game.

Sweden had already prevented the Netherlands from a place at the World Cup by finishing second ahead of the Oranje in their qualifying group.

The fixtures announcement indicates Southgate’s continued policy of facing high-profile opposition in the build-up to the World Cup.

England drew 0-0 to world champions Germany last week, while they face five-time winners Brazil at Wembley on Tuesday evening.

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