Wednesday, 10 January 2018

England to play friendlies against Nigeria, Costa Rica

England have arranged to host Nigeria and Costa Rica in warm-up friendlies ahead of the 2018 World Cup in June.

Gareth Southgate’s side will take on Nigeria at Wembley on June 2 and then Costa Rica at Elland Road five days later, before heading off for the tournament in Russia.

Taking home games on the road is something England did in the build-up to Euro 2016, playing friendlies at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light and Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium.

And England have played twice before at Leeds’ 37,890-capacity Elland Road – a 2-1 defeat to Italy in March 2002 and a 3-3 draw with Sweden in June 1995.

Southgate’s men already have two friendlies scheduled for March, when they will take on Holland in Amsterdam (23rd) and Italy at Wembley (27th).

Their World Cup campaign begins against Tunisia in Volgograd on June 18, and they then play debutants Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on June 24 before concluding the group stage against Belgium four days later in Kaliningrad.

Nigeria and Costa Rica have also successfully qualified for this summer’s tournament.

Nigeria are in Group D alongside Argentina, Iceland and Croatia, while Costa Rica will face Brazil, Serbia and Switzerland in Group A.

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