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


England will play global friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica ahead of the World Cup finals in Russian Federation, the Football Association (FA) announced on Wednesday (Jan 10).

England added fellow World Cup qualifiers Nigeria and Costa Rica to their pre-World Cup friendlies schedule on Wednesday.

"We've mostly played European opposition up to now and the Brazil game [in November] acted as a reminder that we need to challenge ourselves in different ways as a team", Southgate said.

England topped their group in qualifying and coach Southgate sees the Nigerians and Costa Ricans as ideal preparation for two of their first round opponents Tunisia and debutants Panama.

More news: Eric Clapton reveals he's going deaf from tinnitus
More news: NFL GM on playoffs: Eagles will lose, Patriots will roll, more
More news: Donald Trump reckons he would beat Oprah in a Presidential race

Southgate had initially planned for three games in June prior to the squad's departure for Russian Federation, but sources have told ESPN FC that he has now settled on two fixtures in order to spend more time fine-tuning the team's preparations at the National Football Centre at St George's Park.

This last appearance for the Three Lions saw them fall to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of a strong Italian side which included 2006 World Cup winners Gianluigi Buffon, Fabio Cannavaro. and Alessandro Nesta.

"Having been to Manchester and the North East last time, it's nice to be able to go to Yorkshire for a different experience for everybody".

England also have two friendlies with the Netherlands and Italy on March 23 and 27 respectively as they build up to the World Cup.