England’s last friendly before the 2018 World Cup

Last updated: June 6, 2018 by Leon Marshal

Game details

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Kick-off: Thursday, 20:00pm
Venue: Elland Road
Coverage: ITV
Home Team Form: WWWDW
Away Team Form: DWWLW
Last Meeting: England 0 – 0 Costa Rica
Competition: International friendly

After a win against Nigeria last week, England face another team present at the 2018 World Cup, Costa Rica, on Thursday night at Elland Road, in the Three Lion’s last friendly before proceedings in Russia kick-off next week.

England extended their unbeaten run to nine matches after beating Nigeria last week. That record stretches back to September 2017 and includes draws with Brazil, Italy and Germany, as well as a victory against the Netherlands. The signs are mostly positive then with England’s first half performance last week particularly encouraging. The second half not so much. However, England won the match and managed to avoid a defensive collapse as has happened in the past.

Most think that the eleven that Southgate fielded last week will be his first choice in Russia. There should be a chance for a few players to slip their way into the manger’s thinking here however. Danny Rose or Fabian Delph could start at leftback, while the Liverpool duo of Jordan Henderson and Trent Alexander Arnold, rested last week after the Champions League final, may also start. Jamie Vardy, likely to be used as a substitute in the competition, could also get a run out. If England win here then they will go to Russia in high spirits and with a strong record behind them. But, as we all know, the Three Lions have made a habit of performing well in friendlies before falling apart spectacularly in competition football.

Costa Rica were the surprise package of the 2014 World Cup and earned a draw against England in the group stage of that tournament to banish England to bottom place and elimination from the competition. Around half of the players that featured there aren’t in the team nowadays though, with the team’s average age also slightly high. That shouldn’t mean they should be discounted again as they were in Brazil though, but England will be favourites going into this one. Joel Campbell will be known to most English football fans and he scored in his last match for Costa Rica when they comfortably beat Northern Ireland 3-0.

Team News

The attacking midfield pairing of Jesse Lingard and Deli Alli were a positive feature of Englan’d play against Nigeria and should be given another chance.

Ashley Young started in the left back role in the last game, but Southgate may want to give either Danny Rose or Fabian Delph a chance to stake their claim.

Joel Campbell and Francisco Calvo scored the goals in Costa Rica’s last match and should start again here.

Costa Rica will play another friendly before the World Cup starts against England’s group mates Belgium, so there could be experimentation from manager Jorge Luis Pinto here.

Expected Line-Ups:

England (3-4-3): Pickford, Cahill, Maguire, Trippier, Walker, Young, Dier, Lingard, Alli, Sterling, Kane
Subs: Pope, Rose, Jones, Alexander-Arnold, Henderson, Stones, Rashford, Vardy, Delph
Injured: Oxlade-Chamberlain
Not available:
Costa Rica (4-3-3): Navas, Gamboa, Acosta, González, Duarte, Oviedo, Campbell, Borges, Guzmán, Colindres, Venegas
Subs: Smith, Ruiz, Wallace, Azofeifa, Calvo, Tejeda, Pemberton, Watson
Not available:

Head to Head

Last Competitive Meeting Between The Sides
Date Game Result Round First Goal-scorer
24/06/2014 England 0 – 0 Costa Rica FIFA World Cup

Conclusion & Betting Tips

These two teams have met just once before in a goalless draw at the 2014 World Cup. England were a massive disappointment in that tournament, but the team has strengthened significantly since that time. Costa Rica meanwhile have declined, it’s fair to say. It’s unlikely they will repeat the heroics of 2014, especially since they are in a very difficult group.

Costa Rica also have another friendly left to play after this one against Belgium and will likely experiment with the lineup. That means that England are in the driving seat, with the added incentive of winning their final game before the World Cup. We think an England win is on the cards, which you can get at Mansion Bet.