England 2-0 Costa Rica

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Marcus Rashford staked his claim to start England's World Cup campaign with a stunning strike in a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica in a friendly in Leeds on Thursday.

England, whose manager Gareth Southgate made 10 changes from the side which beat Nigeria 2-1 at Wembley Saturday, dominated possession against a mostly unadventurous Costa Rica side but it created few clear chances.

Gareth Southgate's England will face Tunisia (June 18), Panama (June 24) and Belgium (June 28) in Group G at the World Cup in Russian Federation. BBC say 4%, but should it be higher?

I have 11 or 12 who are going to be hard to leave out.


The match was the last for both teams before their World Cup openers, England facing Tunisia on June 18 and Costa Rica meeting Serbia the day before.

England's victory in Leeds followed Saturday's 2-1 win over Nigeria but perhaps more importantly, Southgate's squad appear to have avoided picking up any injuries as they prepare to fly to Russian Federation. "Every time we meet up with the squad there's great camaraderie, it's a very enjoyable environment to be in and I'm really excited for the coming weeks".

The 47-year-old also singled out Loftus-Cheek as another player firmly knocking on his door for a place on the team sheet.

He has yet to hit the target in 39 appearances, but came close during Thursday's 2-0 win over Costa Rica when a fierce drive was beaten away by Keylor Navas.


The right wing-back, the youngest member of England's World Cup squad, looked comfortable in his new surroundings, confident and assured in possession (and when on free-kicks) and alert when defending.

Costa Rica face tournament favorites Brazil as well as Serbia and Switzerland in Group E, and will need to show far more ambition once they get to Russian Federation if they are to replicate their heroics of four years ago.

Of course it is an easier job when the main requirement is simply not to make a fool of yourself, but Southgate has proved himself extremely good at walking down the street without tripping over and if England have even a moderate World Cup, it may pave the way for future success. Raheem Sterling heads to the World Cup off the back of an outstanding season with Manchester City, but his struggles to translate club form on the global stage are well documented.

"I know I shouldn't mention it but I've got a tattoo of it on my arm!" he said this week of the No.10 after some unwanted attention for tattoos.


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