Next Stop Russia as England Prepare for Take-Off

England signed off for Russia with a comfortable win against fellow World Cup finalists Costa Rica on Thursday evening.

Goals from Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck showed their worth to the squad, although unlikely to be starters in Russia, and overall England’s matches against Nigeria and Los Ticos satisfied the major requirements of any friendlies prior to a major tournament.

Firstly there were no injuries sustained and secondly both of the matches acted as a genuine warm-up in terms of England playing the formation that they will take to Volgograd and the World Cup opener against Tunisia.

There has been no experimentation and no last-minute change of heart about what system Gareth Southgate’s team will play, merely a rotation of the squad within that system to ensure everyone keeps up their match sharpness and those who came into the side on Thursday did what they had to do to give the manager some welcome selection headaches.

England will get a final look at their opening opponents on Saturday evening when Tunisia, who are already out in Russia, take on one of the favourites for the tournament, Spain, in Krasnodar.

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