England vs Costa Rica preview, betting tips and prediction
England to win 2-0 with Harry Kane FGS @ 9/1 with Betfair
England take on Costa Rica in their final World Cup warm up game before heading off to Russia for the real action to start. The game takes place on Thursday at Elland Road, the home of Championship side Leeds United, and it will be interesting to see the strength of Gareth Southgate’s side.
There are some bad memories of facing Costa Rica, having drawn with them in 2014 in Brazil, a tournament in which they failed to reach the knockout stages. They don’t have too many big names themselves, but Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas will be a sturdy last line of defence.
The Three Lions performed well in their last game at Wembley at the weekend, a 2-1 win over Nigeria, particularly in the first half. Harry Kane, Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli were all very impressive. The fact the latter pair worked so well together was a pleasant surprise for many, because it was assumed that Southgate would start one of the other. The likes of Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford give other options in attack, too. Costa Rica will be in confident mood after a 3-0 win over Northern Ireland on Sunday. We are backing an England win, with Kane to score first.
England have not been overwhelmingly good in recent games, but a win in Holland in their last batch of friendlies back March was a welcome result. Keeping back to back clean sheets against Brazil and Germany back in November was also crucial, because it showed they can contain two of the best attacking sides in the competition.
Costa Rica’s victory over Northern Ireland was just their second in eight games, with defeats to the likes of Tunisia and Panama, two of England’s group opponents in Russia, as well as Spain in that time. They face the small matter of Brazil, as well as Serbia and Switzerland, this summer.
Phil Jones returns to the side after missing the Nigeria game for the birth of his daughter, while all Liverpool players are available following the Champions League final.
Costa Rica have no new injury issues.