LONDON: England enjoyed the perfect World Cup send-off with goals from Marcus Rashford and Danny Welbeck giving them a routine 2-0 win over Costa Rica at Elland Road.
The visitors made the World Cup quarter-finals four years ago after emerging from the group England failed to get out of, but were comfortably outclassed by Gareth Southgate’s much-changed side.
Trent Alexander-Arnold started on his England debut as Southgate made 10 changes for the final World Cup warm-up game before his squad fly out to Russia.
Manchester City defender John Stones was the only player retained from the 2-1 win over Nigeria, with the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fabian Delph and Jamie Vardy among those with the most to gain.
With 13 minutes gone, the lively Rashford made his mark as he unleashed a brilliant strike towards the top corner that sailed over Keylor Navas’ head and struck the net.
The first half ended without further addition to England’s 1-0 lead, but that continued to look more likely than an equaliser against unambitious opponents.
In the 56th minute Jordan Henderson came close to doubling the lead when he crashed a loose ball hard at Navas following good hustling from Vardy.
Navas fended the ball for a corner, from which Maguire’s downward header was cleared off the line by Bryan Oviedo.
Danny Welbeck, the only outfield player not to start either of the last two games, was given half an hour up front in place of Vardy, and he made the most of it by nodding in Dele Alli’s cross to seal the victory.
Rashford said later: “You work on them in training pretty much every day so when one comes up in a game, it’s the reward you get for practice. I’m happy with the game today and the result because I feel like we’re in good physical form leading up to the tournament which is the most important thing.
“But I still need to get in the box a little bit more to try to finish off some chances from crossing areas, so there’s always something to learn from each game.”
Looking ahead to the World Cup, Rashford added: “It means a lot to just be selected but hopefully going there and playing a major part is my main aim. If everyone goes with that mentality and performs to the best of their ability then we know we’ve got a good chance.
“Anything’s possible so we have to go there with the highest expectations.
“The friendlies have just been showcasing ourselves to the fans how far we’ve come on. We know how far in training we’ve come on, especially in the last 18 months, and these games are just an opportunity to show it to everyone.”