England 2-0 Costa Rica: Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck score

Marcus Rashford scored a stunning goal as England beat Costa Rica 2-0 in their final World Cup warm-up game at Elland Road on Thursday.

Manchester United forward Rashford was England’s standout player and beat Keylor Navas with a powerful dipping strike in the 13th minute.

Substitute Danny Welbeck made it 2-0 in the 76th minute in a game that England controlled, having made 10 changes from their 2-1 win over Nigeria on Saturday.

England now look ahead to their World Cup opener against Group G opponents Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18.

Manager Gareth Southgate might face a few tricky selection decisions ahead of the fixture after a largely encouraging display against Costa Rica.

As they did against Nigeria in their last outing, England – with Jack Butland in goal and Trent Alexander-Arnold making his international debut at right-back – dominated the first half.

Trent Alexander-Arnold made his England debut
Trent Alexander-Arnold made his England debut

The hosts controlled possession and took an early lead when Rashford fired in a brilliant strike from 25 yards out that flew over Navas.

The Real Madrid goalkeeper prevented Jamie Vardy making it 2-0 when he dived to smother his shot from eight yards out.

Butland was quiet at the other end and was only called into action to push away a shot from Johan Venegas in the 27th minute.

England players celebrate Rashford's opener
England players celebrate Rashford’s opener

Otherwise Costa Rica rarely ventured forward as England finished a one-sided half with 70 per cent of the possession, and the positive and inventive Rashford the standout player on either side.

Harry Maguire saw a header cleared off the line after the break and Navas parried away a shot from Jordan Henderson.

Team news

Stones was the only player to keep his place in the starting XI from the win over Nigeria. Butland, Delph, Loftus-Cheek, Rashford and Vardy started while Alexander-Arnold made his debut. Arsenal forward Campbell started for Costa Rica but former Fulham player Ruiz was on the bench.

Costa Rica improved slightly and Marco Urena’s deflected effort was saved by Butland.

However, even though the tempo of the game slowed among a raft of substitutions, England grabbed a second with 14 minutes remaining when Welbeck headed in from Dele Alli’s cross.

Man of the match – Marcus Rashford

One of Southgate’s biggest decisions for England’s World Cup opener against Tunisia could be whether Rashford starts.

The 20-year-old certainly did his chances no harm with a lively display. His goal was a superb strike and he tried to make something happen whenever he got on the ball. While he didn’t have as much of an influence in the game in the second half, his performance in the opening 45 minutes was encouraging for England.

What’s next?

It’s World Cup time for England as they start their Group G campaign against Tunisia on June 18. Costa Rica face England’s Group G rivals Belgium in a friendly on Monday before their Group E opener against Serbia on June 17.



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