FA rule out Scotland game before 2011

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The Football Association have ruled out any possibility of England meeting Scotland before 2011.

Talks took place 12 months ago about reviving the oldest international fixture as both countries came to terms with missing Euro 2008.

"We are aware of the significance of an England-Scotland fixture and the high level of interest it would generate," said an FA spokesman.

Fabio Capello was keen on the idea and an end-of-season clash was tentatively proposed but in the end the plans were scrapped as Scotland counterpart George Burley was reluctant to play the game without his Old Firm contingent, who were committed to tour matches elsewhere.

Scotland are still hopeful of resurrecting the idea but the FA have already filled their international dates for 2009, scheduling friendlies with Slovakia, Holland and Slovenia, with the exception of November, which is reserved for play-off matches.

Yet, even if Capello's side qualify for South Africa automatically, a meeting with Scotland at that time of year has already been ruled out, as only one of the two potential dates is likely to be used and the Italian already has opponents in mind.

Then, in the build-up to South Africa, Capello wants to use warm-up matches to test the Three Lions against opposition similar to the teams England would face at the World Cup.

The early part of the 2010-11 campaign has also been ruled out, so it will be at least another two years before the two countries - who last met in 1999 when two Paul Scholes goals at Hampden Park ultimately proved decisive in a tense qualifier for Euro 2000 - could be arranged.

The spokesman continued: "We have tried to arrange one in the last 12 months but unfortunately it was unable to take place.

"It is going to be difficult for us to find an opportunity to play Scotland at any point in the next 18 months."

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Paul Scholes

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