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England rivals eye up Scots World Cup workout

ENGLAND'S World Cup Group D opponents have approached Scotland about providing part of their preparations for taking on the Auld Enemy in Brazil, the Sunday Herald understands.

Although nothing will be formalised until the draw for Euro 2016 is made in Nice in February, Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica are all thought be interested in taking on British-style opposition in late May/early June as they build up to the showpiece and Gordon Strachan's side could fit the bill.

With a mooted trip to Australia now thought to be unlikely, a training camp in the USA is one potential venue for the fixtures.

Especially since Costa Rica, who Scotland haven't played since infamously going down to the Central American nation in the 1990 World Cup, and Italy are both scheduled to warm up for the tournament in the US.

Uruguay will do their preparations elsewhere, but a friendly with Scotland - with whom they saw a proposed fixture fall through in November due to their involvement in a one-sided play-off against Jordan - is one option being pursued.

Although broadcasters and rights holders are keeping cards close to their chests, Strachan and the SFA administrators are sifting through up to 20 different options, including the possibility of taking on another fixture in London, similar to the 2-0 defeat to Brazil at the Emirates, or elsewhere in Europe.

"There are teams competing in the World Cup that want to play against British opposition and we've options to play them in Europe or elsewhere between here and Brazil," said Stewart Regan, the SFA chief executive.

"We're exploring them, but there are financial factors as well as travel for players and fans to consider. There are 10 days immediately after the Champions League final on May 24 when we can't play.

"But we're looking at options to play as soon as we can to get the players together. We're not in a position to announce but it shouldn't be too long," Regan added.

"There are balls in the air and myself, Gordon and our commercial director are trying to finalise what the plans might look like before getting board approval."

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