Spain will play three international friendlies in the weeks before the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ next year and will be based near Johannesburg during the tournament, the nation's football federation said on Tuesday.

The European champions will play two friendlies at home, on 29 May and 8 June, and one away on 5 June. The squad's opponents for the matches have not yet been determined.

The Spanish national team will be based in Potchefstroom, a university town about 120 kilometres south-west of Johannesburg during the tournament. They will arrive in South Africa on 10 June.

Spain, one of the favourites to win the tournament, are in Group H alongside Chile, Honduras and Switzerland. They finished December ranked number one in the FIFA Coca-Cola World Ranking for the second straight year, making them the only side to ever occupy the top spot in the rankings without winning a FIFA World Cup.

Often accused of underperforming at international level, their best placing remains fourth in 1950. Spain would only appear in two more FIFA World Cups until 1978, but have qualified for every tournament since then.