England 2-0 Costa Rica: Professionalism from Southgate's young Lions

A week before the World Cup begins, England convincingly beat Costa Rica 2-0 in their last warm-up game.

England 2-0 Costa Rica: Professionalism from Southgate's young Lions
Rashford takes on the Costa Rican defence. (Photo via Getty Images/ Alex Livesy)
England
2 0
Costa Rica
England: Butland (Pope 65’), Jones, Stones (Cahill 65’), Maguire, Alexander Arnold (Trippier 64’), Loftus-Cheek (Lingard 79’), Henderson (Alli 79’), Delph, Rose, Vardy, Rashford.
Costa Rica: Navas, Watson, Gonzalez, Calvo, Gamboa (Smith 72’), Guzman (Tejeda 69’), Borges, Oviedo (Matarrita 60’), Venegas (Bolanos 61’), Campbell, Urena.
SCORE: 1-0, min. 13, Rashford. 2-0, min. 76, Welbeck.

A professional England performance sealed the deal for Gareth Southgate as his side brushed pass Costa Rica with ease. England dominated possesion, though the ball was mostly spent in Costa Rica's half. When Southgate was appointed manager of England few would believe that the team would be playing with this fluidity. 

A goal in either half won the game for England and will send the squad to Russia with confidence, 

The England team contained names who will more likely be on the fringes of the squad. Some of these players included Fabian Delph, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Trent Alexander Arnold.

Wonder kid strikes again

The first goal of the game came from Manchester United youngster Marcus Rashford in the 13th minute. After receiving the ball from Loftus-Cheek, Rashford took a brief touch before launching the ball over Keylor Navas to score from the angle.

A fantastic goal, 25 yards out and nearest the right-hand side of the box, it will give Rashford great confidence going into the World Cup. A quick reaction from Rashford allowed him to produce his best qualities once again. The United forward put in a brilliant display glowing with confidence which resulted in him getting man of the match.

Alexander Arnold impresses

The Liverpool born right back was playing an unusual wing-back role in a 3-5-2. The 19-year-old performed well enough against Costa Rica to make Gareth Southgate think twice about starting Kieran Trippier against Tunisia. Although a one-sided affair, the defender showed his calmness and defensive qualities when Costa Rica asked questions.

However, it was his crossing ability that made fans and pundits alike take note. His delivery in open play and from set pieces caused the Costa Rican defence to react quickly. With a poacher up front like Harry Kane, Alexander Arnold’s crossing ability may complement the striker and create opportunities for the Spurs man and Three Lions captain.

 

Welbeck keeps Southgate’s options open

England were put two goals up by Danny Welbeck in the 76th minute. A cross-the-goal ball by Dele Alli found Welbeck and he headed home from close range in ease. The two substitutes combined well to kill the game for England.

Perhaps fading away behind the likes of Kane, Rashford and Vardy, Welbeck is another option for Southgate. His goal in the last warm up game before the World Cup is a reminder to the manager that can do a job whilst called upon. Welbeck could be a valuable player off the bench for England in Russia.

One sided game for England

The game finished 2-0 and it did not look like Costa Rica were ever going to have the upper hand. England dominated the game with 66% of possession to Costa Rica’s 34%. England were very calm and patient on the ball. Southgate’s men waited and chose their moments to attack, often targeting Costa Rica’s fullback channels, England found it easy to gain space out wide.

To demonstrate England’s dominance even more, the three lions had nine corners to Costa Rica’s one. The ball was mainly played in Costa Rica’s half of the pitch. Under Southgate, England seemed to more organised when it comes to set pieces. A number of chances were created through England’s dead ball game.