Marcus Rashford Scores Thunderbastard In Costa Rica Friendly

Virginia Santiago
June 10, 2018

The pitch at Elland Road showed only a few scars from the riotous boxing bout which took place here three weeks ago and the blood-soaked brawl between Josh Warrington and Lee Selby was replaced by more careful sparring tonight.

The win, which puts England two points clear of Wales with two games left, came without injured captain Steph Houghton and the influential Izzy Christiansen and Jordan Nobbs.

While Ruben Loftus-Cheek offered a reminder of his strength on the ball and Henderson delivered good service for the strikers with well-weighted balls from midfield, it was Rashford who made the strongest impression - and not only for his brilliant goal.

Former-England player and Match Of The Day presenter Gary Lineker pronounced Rashford's goal simply as "stunning", describing the youngster as "a prodigious talent".

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Southgate rang the changes after the hour mark as Dele Alli, Danny Welbeck, Kieran Trippier and Nick Pope were introduced for the home side.

"Anything's possible so we have to go there with the highest expectations".

If optimism and openness alone could win games, England would breeze through the group stage on the basis of their performances in front of the media in the past week. In the past, England players have maybe had the comfort of knowing what the next squad is going to be before it's announced but I'd like there to be more uncertainty.

"It's more hard, no question", Southgate said. "We have personal support, team support and official protocol in place". It's not a comfortable space for us to be at times but it helps to build a togetherness.

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Costa Rica face tournament favorites Brazil as well as Serbia and Switzerland in Group E, and will need to show far more ambition once they get to Russian Federation if they are to replicate their heroics of four years ago.

But Linekar dismissed suggestions that England's repeated failure is due to a collective inability to withstand pressure, pointing instead to poor youth development programmes over the past several decades.

Adam Lallana says he will come back stronger after being released from standby duty ahead of next week's World Cup.

With around 20 minutes of the game still to play, Costa Rica brought the 20-year-old defender on as a substitute. He has discussed with his players comments made by Rio Ferdinand, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard about bitter inter-club rivalries destroying the spirit within England camps at previous tournaments. "If I was thinking I have nobody to play here or there, it would be a very different situation".

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"We have got a good chance".

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