Five things we learned from England's final World Cup warm-up match

Thursday 07 Jun 2018
Marcus Rashford is congratulated by team-mates after giving England the lead at Elland Road

England signed off for the World Cup with a 2-0 victory over Costa Rica at Elland Road.

Marcus Rashford opened the scoring on 13 minutes and substitute Danny Welbeck sealed the win with a close-range header late on.

England 2-0 Costa Rica
  • International Match
  • Thursday 7 June 2018
  • Elland Road, Leeds United FC
  • Live on ITV

The next time the Three Lions will be in action is for their Russia 2018 opener against Tunisia on Monday 18 June.

So here are five talking points from their final World Cup warm-up match…

Lovin’ it in Leeds

A sold out Elland Road was treated to its first England international since 2002 – and boy did the locals enjoy it.

This famous old ground was rocking throughout, from the opening rendition of ‘Football’s coming home’ to jeering Costa Rica keeper Keylor Navas every time he was in possession, the 36,104 in attendance certainly knew how to create an atmosphere on a balmy Thursday evening.

And with Leeds graduates Danny Rose and Fabian Delph in the starting line-up alongside fellow Yorkshire natives Jamie Vardy, Harry Maguire and John Stones, the Elland Road regulars had plenty of their own to cheer as Gareth Southgate’s side eased to a fairly routine victory.

Debut boys

Welcome to the Three Lions club, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Nick Pope.

Alexander-Arnold was handed his senior team debut after an impressive campaign at Liverpool which culminated in a Champions League final appearance two weeks ago.

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.

Burnley keeper Pope, once a milkman, replaced Jack Butland just after the hour mark for his first England appearance at any level – but didn’t have a lot to do.

Rashford stakes his claim

His Manchester United connections led to a few comedy boos when his name was read out over the PA system, but Rashford won the Leeds faithful over as early as the 13th minute when he gave England the lead in emphatic fashion.

He picked the ball up 25 yards from goal and unleashed an unstoppable, angled drive which left serial Champions League winner Navas flapping at thin air.

Playing alongside Vardy, eventual man of the match Rashford was bright, energetic and dangerous throughout – which gives Southgate something to think about ahead of the Tunisia opener.

Danny does it again

Welbeck was already the top scorer among England’s World Cup squad and the Arsenal man extended that advantage by nodding home the second goal, from Dele’s in-swinging cross.

He opened his account against Belgium in 2012 and has now bagged a total of 16 goals in 39 games.

Roll on Russia

There were ten changes from the 2-1 win over Nigeria on Saturday – John Stones the only survivor – as Southgate shuffled his pack with just 11 days to go until the big one.

England dominated the first half, hardly affording their visitors any possession, but even when Butland was called into action by Marco Urena he was equal to it.

Rashford stood out in the opening 45 minutes, but every other player can also be pleased with their night’s work.

The second half was a more subdued affair in terms of chances, the ten substitutions perhaps affecting the game’s flow.

But England ultimately came through their warm-up matches unscathed and with two confidence-boosting victories.

Roll on Russia…

England (3-5-2): 13 Jack Butland (Stoke City); 5 John Stones (Manchester City), 6 Harry Maguire (Leicester City), 16 Phil Jones (Manchester United); 22 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), 8 Jordan Henderson (capt; Liverpool), 21 Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), 17 Fabian Delph (Manchester City), 3 Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur); 19 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), 11 Jamie Vardy (Leicester City).

Substitutes: 14 Danny Welbeck (Arsenal) for Vardy 61, 12 Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur) for Alexander-Arnold 65, 20 Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur) for Henderson 65, 23 Nick Pope (Burnley) for Butland 65, 15 Gary Cahill (Chelsea) for Stones 65, 7 Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) for Loftus-Cheek 79.

Substitutes not used: 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton), 24 Tom Heaton (Burnley), 2 Kyle Walker (Manchester City), 4 Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), 10 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), 18 Ashley Young (Manchester United), 25 Adam Lallana (Liverpool), 26 Jake Livermore (West Bromwich Albion).

Goals: Rashford 13, Welbeck 76

Manager: Gareth Southgate

Costa Rica: 1 Keylor Navas, 3 Giancarlo Gonzalez, 5 Celso Borges (capt), 8 Bryan Oviedo, 11 Johan Venegas, 12 Joel Campbell, 15 Francisco Calvo, 16 Christian Gamboa, 19 Kendall Waston, 20 David Guzman, 21 Marco Urena.

Substitutes: 22 Ronald Matarrita for Ovideo 61, 7 Christian Bolanos for Venegas 61, 17 Yeltsin Tejeda for Guzman 69, 4 Ian Smith for Gamboa 72.

Substitutes not used: 18 Patrick Pemberton, 23 Leonel Moreira, 2 Jonny Acosta, 6 Oscar Duarte, 9 Daniel Colindres, 10 Bryan Ruiz, 13 Rodney Wallace, 14 Randall Azofeifa, 24 David Ramirez.

Bookings: Gonzalez

Head coach: Oscar Ramirez

Referee: Hiroyuki Kimura

Attendance: 36,104

Have you enjoyed England’s World Cup adventure? Why not join the England Supporters Club? It’s free and you’ll get some great offers and ticket priority.
By Glenn Lavery at Elland Road