World Cup 2018 warm-up fixtures: Full list of who England, Brazil, France & more face in pre-tournament friendlies

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As the World Cup gears closer, teams will have a last opportunity to make last-minute preparations with friendly fixtures – but who will they face?

With the World Cup gearing to start June 14, teams will have a last chance to prepare for the finals in Russia with a string of international friendlies against high-profile sides.

Many of the 23-man squads for the tournament will be confirmed in the coming weeks and the friendlies are an opportunity for managers to play around with squad selection, though some will be eager to preserve the fitness of their star players to avoid last-minute injury nightmares on the eve of the competition.

As the start of the tournament is looms closer and closer and Goal takes a look at how teams are readying themselves ahead of this summer.


England's warm-up friendlies


Date Fixture Time (BST) Venue
June 2 England vs Nigeria 5:15pm Wembley Stadium, London
June 7 England vs Costa Rica 8pm Wembley Stadium, London

With news of the 23-man England squad recently announced, manager Gareth Southgate will be able to prepare for his Group G opening fixtures by facing off against both Nigeria and Costa Rica at Wembley Stadium.

Twelve days after facing Italy, Southgate's side begin their World Cup campaign against Tunisia in Volgograd before facing Panama on June 24, with their final group stage game against Belgium on June 28 at Kaliningrad.


France's warm-up friendlies


Date Fixture Time (BST) Venue
May 28 Republic of Ireland vs France 8pm Stade de France, Paris
June 6 France vs Italy 8pm Allianz Riviera, Nice
June 9 France vs U.S. National Team 8pm Groupama Stadium, Lyon

France will have a busy run-in to the World Cup with three friendlies against Ireland, Italy and the USMNT. Didier Deschamps still has yet to name his World Cup squad ahead of the June 4 deadline.

His side's Group C challenge begins on June 16 – just a week after they face the USMNT in Lyon – against Australia at the Kazan Arena, before facing off against Peru at Central Stadium Yekaterinburg on June 21 and Denmark at Luzhniki Stadium on June 26.


Brazil's warm-up friendlies


Date Fixture Time (BST) Venue
June 3 Brazil vs Croatia 3pm Anfield, Liverpool
June 10 Brazil vs Austria 3pm Ernst Happel Stadion, Vienna

Tite's Brazil squad – led by a fit Neymar and Gabriel Jesus – face will face Croatia and Austria over the course of the week.

Ex-Liverpool midfielder Philippe Coutinho could make a return to his former home stadium if he is selected to be involved in the friendly against Croatia, which is to be played at Anfield. 

Their World Cup campaign begins with Group E tests against Switzerland first on June 17 at Rostov Arena, followed by Costa Rica on June 22 in Saint Petersburg Stadium and finally Serbia June 27 at Spartak Stadium.


Germany's warm-up friendlies


Date Fixture Time (BST) Venue
June 2 Austria vs Germany 8pm Worthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt
June 8 Germany vs Saudi Arabia 6:30pm BayArena, Leverkusen

Defending champions Germany will be keen on making the best start possible to retain their World Cup title.

First facing Austria in Klagenfurt and Saudi Arabia in Leverkusen for their warm-up fixtures, their World Cup begins on June 17 with a Group F fixture against Mexico at Luzhniki Stadium. This will be followed by ties against Sweden on June 23 at Fisht Stadium and South Korea on June 27 at Kazan Arena.


Spain's warm-up friendlies


Date Fixture Time (BST) Venue
June 3 Spain vs Switzerland 8pm El Madrigal, Villareal
June 9 Spain vs Tunisia 8pm Krasnodar Stadium, Krasnodar

World Cup 2010 and back-to-back European champions in 2008 and 2012 Spain – with a new-look squad that has yet to be confirmed – will be given a chance to exact revenge on Switzerland, who they lost to in the lead-up to their victorious campaign in South Africa.

After a final friendly fixture against Tunisia, Julen Lopetegui's side get their World Cup campaign underway against rivals Portugal on June 16 at the Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi. The rest of their Group B matches consist of ties against Iran on June 20 at the Kazan Arena, before finishing off with Morocco on June 25 at Kaliningrad Stadium.


Australia's warm-up friendlies


Date Fixture Time (BST) Venue
June 1 Czech Republic vs Australia 12pm NV Arena, Lower Austria
June 9 Hungary vs Australia 4:30pm Groupama Arena, Budapest

Australia will gear for their World Cup campaign by playing friendly fixtures in Europe, allowing them to get used to the time zone for this summer. They kick-off their preparations for Russia against the Czech Republic in Lower Austria on June 1, and will then travel to Budapest to face Hungary.

Their Group C fixtures open against France on June 16 at the Kazan Arena, followed by a second group stage game against Denmark on June 21 at Samara Arena and concluding with a clash against Peru on June 26 at Fisht Stadium.


Mexico's warm-up friendlies


Date Fixture Time (BST) Venue
May 29 Mexico vs Wales 2am Rose Bowl, California
June 3 Mexico vs Scotland 1am Azteca Stadium, Mexico City
June 9 Denmark vs Mexico 8pm Brondby Stadium, Brondby

Mexico have an intense pre-World Cup schedule as they host both Wales and Scotland in California and the Azteca Stadium, which might be too late for UK viewers to follow – they take place well past midnight  – but will be the perfect opportunity for Mexico fans to show their team support before they head to Russia.

Juan Carlos Osorio's side cap off their preparations against Denmark, and their World Cup opener takes place just over a week later against defending champions Germany on June 17at  Luzhniki Stadium, which is potentially their toughest-ever test. This will be followed by a next Group F fixture against South Korea on June 23 at Rostov Arena, followed by a clash with Sweden on June 27 at Ekaterinburg Arena.


Belgium's warm-up friendlies


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Date Fixture Time (BST) Venue
June 2 Belgium vs Portugal 7:45pm King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels
June 6 Belgium vs Egypt 7:45pm King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels
June 11 Belgium vs Costa Rica 7:45pm King Baudouin Stadium, Brussels

Belgium are also another team who have an intense run-in to the World Cup as they play three fixtures, with the last coming just a week before their opening Group G game against Panama on June 18.

Roberto Martinez's side will first face a friendly fixture against Portugal, with some of the biggest European stars clashing against each other – such as Cristiano Ronaldo facing Kevin De Bruyne. De Bruyne might be looking for payback against Egypt's Mohamed Salah when the two face each other in Brussels, after the Liverpool player won the Football Writers' Player and Players' Player of the Year awards.

Their final friendly takes place on June 11 against Costa Rica before they face the likes of Panama, England and Tunisia in the Group G stages of the World Cup. The World Cup will begin on June 14.

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