Fabio Capello will launch his FIFA World Cup™ preparations on 3 March when England take on Egypt at Wembley.

As soon as the draw was completed in Cape Town earlier this month, Capello made it a priority to secure Egypt as the Three Lions' next opponents in the planning to face Algeria in their second Group C game in South Africa next year. England do not have much experience of north African opposition and have never faced Algeria, who beat Egypt in a stormy play-off in Sudan to reach next year's finals.

Capello wants to put that right and felt Egypt were the obvious side to gain it against under the circumstances. The last meeting with Egypt came during Italy 1990, when Mark Wright's single goal was enough to secure victory in Cagliari. A repeat would represent a historic 500th victory for England.

Capello's trusted assistant Franco Baldini will be present at the CAF African Cup of Nations, with the Algerians set to face Malawi, Mali and Angola in the group stage. The Italian is also trying to arrange a friendly with Mexico in May, which will serve as a warm-up to the opening game against USA, before playing a final friendly, likely to be against Japan, at the end of a pre-tournament training camp in Austria.

However, it will be January at the earliest when further friendlies - and the precise dates for the altitude training at Irdning - can be confirmed.