Five things we learned from England v Costa Rica

Youngsters Dele Alli, John Stones, Eric Dier, Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling and Marcus Rashford had all impressed for their Premier League clubs and were obvious inclusions.

One of the major concerns looming over this month's Russian Federation finals is the racism that has plagued the country's footballing divisions and national team over the years, with Three Lions defender Danny Rose even telling his family not to travel to the tournament over fear of abuse, according to Evening Standard.

Jones and wife Kaya welcomed daughter Alaria on May 31 but after being present for the birth he was soon back in thick of Gareth Southgate's preparations at St George's Park. The average number of England appearances is 20 compared with 34 per player across all the squads. During this window he has already been linked with West Ham's Marko Arnautovic.

"This year, I feel in better condition and that's good", Rashford told ESPN. It is nearly as if that with the shackles off he feels free to unveil all his best attributes.

Southgate has gradually developed a squad that is new, fresh and is built around a core group of young, talented individuals.

"Then you've got to be good enough and lucky enough to make it". That was world-class, but he was also teasing defenders by the touchline. "His performance wasn't flawless but he was enjoying himself, and that was good to see".

"It doesn't seem like Jose Mourinho is building a team around him and he's never been one for putting young ones in".

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In both conference finals matchups, the first three games of the series were decided by at least 13 points. It'll be interesting to see what the duo bring when going against each other on the biggest stage of all.


While captain Harry Kane will start as England's main striker in Russia, Leicester star Vardy "could influence Southgate's thinking" with an impressive display tonight, says the Daily Mail.

Knowing Vardy would stick rigidly to his position up front, Rashford was free to roam, popping up regularly on both flanks in a bid to terrorise all three members of the visiting defence.

What are Rashford's chances of making Gareth Southgate's first World Cup XI?

There is plenty to digest, and I have picked out the three chief discoveries from the Three Lions' set of pre-World Cup matches. At the other end are debutants Panama and Costa Rica, whose 23-men squads average 29.6. Expectations might be relatively low back home, but there are reasons England have been tipped as dark horses by fans around the globe.

Forward Goncalo Guedes staked his claim for a place in Portugal's starting line-up with two goals in the win over Algeria, who missed out on Russian Federation, at a soggy Stadium of Light in Lisbon.

"There are a few senior global defenders who will be absolutely petrified of him if he's given licence to just run at people and do his stuff".

  • Lawrence Cooper