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Argentina almost certain to warm up against Wales

© Reuters 2002

LONDON, Feb 4 (Reuters) - World Cup favourites Argentina are almost certain to play Wales in Cardiff next week in a friendly warm-up for the finals in Japan and Korea, a spokesman for the Welsh FA (FAW) said on Monday.

"We're working on the basis that's it's going to happen (given the proximity of the date)," FAW spokesman Ceri Stennett told Reuters on Monday.

The FAW was waiting for Argentina's confirmation that they want the February 13 match at the Millennium Stadium to go ahead. They hoped to have this confirmation later on Monday.

Argentina have been seeking World Cup friendlies against opposition with similar characteristics to their three opponents in the so-called "group of death", England, Sweden and Nigeria.

Wales would fit the bill as British opposition, while an already confirmed meeting with Germany in Stuttgart on April 17 will give Argentina further experience against a northern European team.

That leaves Nigeria and coach Marcelo Bielsa is looking for a match against Cameroon, who are currently involved in the African Nations Cup.

Argentina have called off a March meeting with Norway in Oslo to leave March 27 free in case they manage to arrange a friendly against the Africans.

British Sunday paper News of the World quoted Wales manager Mark Hughes as saying: "(To play Argentina) is a fantastic chance to pit ourselves against the very best."

Argentina, beaten only once in 21 matches since their 0-0 draw with England at Wembley in early 2000, are bookmakers' favourites to win the World Cup for the third time.

Reports provided by

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Sunday, 10 February
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Friday, 8 February
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Mali president apologises to Cameroon players
Nigerian fans demand team overhaul
Izzet moves closer to Turkey call-up
Croatia's injured Maric not to be replaced - coach
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Thursday, 7 February
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Wednesday, 6 February
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McAteer looking forward to Ireland friendly
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Tuesday, 5 February
Moldova appoints new coach to boost Euro 2004 hopes
Sweden call up three uncapped players
Norway hope for Argentina but eye alternatives
Confident Mali close in on African Nations Cup glory
Weary Brazil to face Saudi Arabia
Egypt's Ramzy puts retirement on hold
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