England's Gareth Southgate pleased with Marcus Rashford 'swagger' in win

Adjust Comment Print

Man-of-the-match Marcus Rashford - who opened the scoring against Costa Rica - has given Gareth Southgate a selection headache. "That's what I've tried to do throughout my career, I've tried to take little pieces of their character or parts of their game so I can try to improve my own".

Costa Rica topped the group with seven points and went on to the quarter-finals where they lost on penalties to the Netherlands, while England finished bottom of the group with one point.

Less impressive are the 1-0 away defeats in Tunisia and Hungary and the 5-0 drubbing away to Spain in late 2017.

England have conceded just twice in their last seven games and haven't let one in during the opening 45 minutes in that run.

A seventh minute free-kick in a risky area promised much, but when Delph hung a cross towards the far post Harry Maguire was judged to have fouled Costa Rica goalkeeper Keylor Navas.

England played at the home of Leeds United for only the third time on Thursday night and it's safe to say football fans across the country were impressed.

England have a tendency to under-estimate so-called lesser nations, but their performance in winning against Costa Rica, who were hand-picked as opponents in order to prepare Southgate's team for Panama, showed that they have the game plan to win games they should win.

While Ruben Loftus-Cheek offered a reminder of his strength on the ball and Henderson delivered good service for the strikers with well-weighted balls from midfield, it was Rashford who made the strongest impression - and not only for his brilliant goal.

England will also host Switzerland on September 11 at a venue yet to be decided, with playing at different stadiums across the land being something that is common practice for the likes of Spain, Germany and Italy. It wasn't first team against Nigeria and second team today. He'll want to close those gaps this time. It was a wonderful strike for the goal and he worked incredibly hard for the team.

However, both sides could play virtually anyone - it's not a competition match and managers will simply be looking to finalise their thoughts on their squad.

England have been practising penalties after some training sessions too so Southgate is certainly leaving no stone unturned.