England v Costa Rica: Three Lions to head to Russia in good spirits?
Elland Road plays host to England’s final World Cup warm-up game against Costa Rica tonight.
England will hope to sign off with a win in front of a rapturous Leeds crowd – and we know how much the Yorkshire crowd love their footy.
The Three Lions’ head coach is expected to make a handful of changes from the 2-1 win over Nigeria last weekend.
Danny Rose and Trent Alexander-Arnold are expected to be the full-backs. Harry Maguire is likely to start at centre-back, while Jordan Henderson could come into midfield. And Jamie Vardy should start in attack alongside Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling.
Costa Rica coach Oscar Ramirez is expected to make a couple of changes from the 3-0 win over Northern Ireland. Former Fulham ace Bryan Ruiz is an injury doubt so it’s possible he won’t be risked ahead of Russia.
However, there will be familiar names on the team sheet with Keylor Navas, Joel Campbell and Bryan Oviedo likely to start.
The last time England and the Central American outfit met, it was in the 2014 summer showpiece when Costa Rica held Roy Hodgson’s men to a goalless draw.
However, that was in the heat of Brazil. The Leeds climate should be a little bit more hospitable for Southgate’s men. Plus, Kane, Sterling, and co. will have the home crowd right behind them.
We know when it comes to qualifiers and non-competitive friendlies, the Three Lions are invariably excellent. Particularly on home soil, too. And the Costa Ricans have won just two of their last eight matches.
Three of these four defeats have seen them fail to hit the onion bag, and on the road, they have lost four of their last five matches.
In terms of goalscorers, Harry Kane’s strike against Nigeria made it eight goals in his last seven England games. The Tottenham Hotspur forward has had another irrepressible season and is 9/4 to score first here.
Jamie Vardy is likely to get an opportunity to press a claim for a starting berth in Russia. The Leicester City striker has seven international goals. And he’s 4/5 to make it eight Anytime.
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