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England to face Costa Rica and Nigeria in World Cup warm-up games

England to face Costa Rica and Nigeria in World Cup warm-up games
From ESPN - January 10, 2018

England will face Costa Rica in their final World Cup warm-up game in June after Gareth Southgate handpicked the Central American nation as perfect preparation for the Russia 2018 clash against Panama in Nizhny Novgorod.

Costa Rica topped England's group at Brazil 2014, being held to a 0-0 draw by Roy Hodgson's team in Belo Horizonte, before suffering a penalty shootout elimination against the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

And with England due to face World Cup debutants Panama in their second Group G game on June 24, manager Southgate has secured a friendly against the Costa Ricans at Leeds United's Elland Road stadium on June 7.

England will play two warm-up games in June before flying to Russia, with the Football Association also confirming a Wembley friendly against Nigeria on June 2.

The England manager said: "We have mostly played European opposition up to now and the Brazil game acted as a reminder that we need to challenge ourselves in different ways as a team.

"We are going into a World Cup where we will play African and Central American opposition so we get that with the games against Nigeria and Costa Rica but it's not just about the games we have got in the group but hopefully beyond that as well. We want to expose the team to different styles and different experiences."

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