England

Match Forecast: England v Costa Rica – gearing up for Russia

Englands preparations for the World Cup started in typical fashion with a comprehensive 2-1 win over Nigeria.

Next up, is a trip to Elland Road to face Costa Rica in what’ll be their final final warm-up match before heading off to Russia.

This’ll be the first time the sides meet since a 0-0 draw in Belo Horizonte – a result which saw England complete their worst major tournament showing since Euro 92.

Team news

Both Jack Butland, and Trent Alexander-Arnold have been penned in to start this evening, in what’ll be a host of changes from the win at the weekend.

As well as those two, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, and Jamie Vardy are also in with a chance of starting tonight.

Gareth Southgate mentioned that starting Jordan Pickford against Nigeria was a “statement”, and the Everton keeper should count his blessings given that he’s been given the number one shirt ahead of this Summer’s tournament.

Costa Rica themselves come off the back of a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland, and they’ll be raring to physically, and mentally improve going forward. Following this game, their final friendly will be against Belgium before commencing their campaign against Serbia.

Bryan Ruiz (former Fulham player, currently plying his trade with Sporting Lisbon) could miss this encounter, having also missed the win over Northern Ireland in San Jose.

Along with Ruiz, Christian Bolanos (midfielder), and Marco Urena are in a race to be fit ahead of their opener.

Prediction

With England playing home from home for the first time since a 2-1 win over Australia at the Stadium of Light in late May 2016, I’d predict a draw – as long as there’s entertainment value. A win will no doubt boost confidence, but a spirited loss won’t be the be all and end all.

The Three Lions haven’t lost at home (outside Wembley) since a 1-0 defeat to Spain at Old Trafford in February 2007. Make of that what you will…

 

Who would you like to see start tonight? What’s your prediction?

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