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FA defend timing of England friendly fixture with Hungary

The Football Association claim England need the friendly just days before the Premiership season begins to keep them on track for their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp has voiced his opposition to the August 11 encounter with Hungary at Wembley, questioning why players who had spent so long together at the World Cup in South Africa needed more time in each other's company quite so soon.

The FA do not believe Redknapp was just singling them out for criticism, rather attacking the international calendar, which is set out by FIFA.

Almost all European countries will be in action on August 11, which means England would be virtually alone if they did not arrange a fixture.

Coach Fabio Capello is keen to use the Hungary encounter to blood some new players.

"England are by no means unique in playing a friendly match on 11 August, since it is an international date scheduled by FIFA, with almost every other nation playing on the same night," said an FA spokesman.

"With a qualification campaign for Euro 2012 beginning just three weeks later, it is an important friendly opportunity to prepare for the competitive games with Bulgaria and Switzerland.

"Not making use of this date provided by FIFA in the calendar would put us at a disadvantage over those countries we face in September."

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