A much-changed England side will bid adieu to Brazil when they take on Costa Rica on Tuesday. While their opponents in Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte have already secured their place in the next round, Roy Hodgson’s side will be playing for little more than pride.
With that in mind, and perhaps with one mind on the European qualifiers beginning in September, the former Liverpool manager has named an experimental line-up featuring just two of the players that narrowly lost to Uruguay last time out.
Only Daniel Sturridge and Gary Cahill have kept their places in the side, a sign perhaps of how Hodgson’s views the long-term set up of the team with the likes of Adam Lallana, Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshere and Phil Jones all getting their chances.
Barkley looks set to get his first start of the tournament after two lively cameos and the Everton man could be the attacking-midfielder that adds the sparkle to England’s play. The inclusion of a more steady three man midfield which will see the aging Lampard surrounded by the more energetic James Milner and Wilshere should give England a strong grip-hold in the middle of the park. At times during this world cup, England have look laboured in the middle often resulting in the front four missing out on quality ball.
Barkley will provide a more forward thinking approach to the game and with his ability to pick a pass not to mention his eye for goal he will be real threat. So too will be Sturridge. The former Chelsea man has emerged as England’s main striker in recent months and that spot appears cemented with the forward retained for the Costa Rica clash. Playing through the middle with support around will suit the Liverpool star and should continue his lively world cup debut.
While Costa Rica have emerged as a surprise unit their line up on Tuesday could have a very different feel to it with the Jorge Luis Pinto likely to rest a number of key men. The pacey Joel Campbell has looked lively throughout the tournament so far and he will hope for a chance to face off against prospective Premier League opponents next season as he prepares to return to Arsenal. FC Kuban Krasnoda Marco Urena, scorer of his countries second goal in the 3-1 win over Uruguay could get a first start. The 24 year old has scored 8 goals in 25 games for his country and has looked lively when called upon so far.
With both sides set to change considerably this game could be very open and lively. With the expectations removed from England expect the shackles to come off ensuring that they will go for goals. With that in mind, I think that this game, in keeping with the world cup to date will have 3.5 or more goals. England to win 3-1.