Footy Times

England and Portugal impress in Pre-World Cup friendlies

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LEEDS: England beat Concacaf side Costo Rica 2-0 to conclude their World Cup preparations in impressive style at Elland Road in Leeds.

Manager Gareth Southgate’s rotation policy proved to be effective as the Three Lions with 10 changes from Saturday’s win against Nigeria at Wembley showcased some individual displays and a good team performance in their final friendly before going to Russia.

Manchester United forward Marcus Rashford was excellent throughout, pressing his World Cup claims with an outstanding first-half strike to put England ahead in the first quarter of the match.

Burnley goalkeeper Nick Pope was given his debut as a second-half replacement for Jack Butland as Southgate introduced several players, and Arsenal’s Danny Welbeck came off the bench to wrap up a thoroughly deserved win with a diving header from Tottenham’s Dele Alli’s ball.

In another important match Goncalo Guedes scored twice as Portugal beat Algeria 3-0 in a friendly in Lisbon.

Real Madrid’s star forward Cristiano Ronaldo had a goal ruled out for offside before Guedes, who spent last season on loan at Valencia from Paris St-Germain, scored from Bernardo Silva’s cushioned header.

Midfielder Bruno Fernandes headed home captain Ronaldo’s cross to double the lead.

Raphael Guerreiro’s cross was then headed in by 21-year-old winger Guedes.

European champions Portugal will play their first match in Russia is against 2010 world champions Spain, one of the most exciting fixture in the tournament in Sochi on 15 June (19:00 BST).

Algeria, who reached the knockout stage in 2014, failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2006.


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