By Brian Homewood
BERNE (Reuters) – England and Portugal enjoyed comfortable home wins in their final World Cup warm-up matches on Thursday, beating Costa Rica 2-0 and Algeria 3-0 respectively.
South Korea were held to an unimpressive 0-0 draw against Bolivia while Iceland, the surprise packages of Euro 2016 who are looking to pull off more upsets in Russia, drew 2-2 at home to Ghana after leading 2-0.
A stunning strike from Marcus Rashford and a Danny Welbeck header gave a confident-looking England victory over the Central Americans in a meeting of two World Cup qualifiers in Leeds.
England, whose manager Gareth Southgate made 10 changes from the side which beat Nigeria 2-1 at Wembley on Saturday, dominated possession against a mostly unadventurous Costa Rica side but they created few clear chances.
The match was the last for both teams before their World Cup openers, England facing Tunisia on June 18 and Costa Rica meeting Serbia the day before.
Forward Goncalo Guedes staked his claim for a place in Portugal’s starting line-up with two goals in the win over Algeria, who missed out on Russia, at a soggy Stadium of Light in Lisbon.
Guedes fired the European champions ahead from Bernardo Silva’s cushioned header and nodded in the third from Raphael Guerreiro’s cross.
Captain Cristiano Ronaldo, making his only appearance in the warm-up friendlies, set up the second for Bruno Fernandes to head in. Portugal open their campaign against Spain on June 15.
Famed for their physique and set-piece prowess, Iceland went ahead in the sixth minute when defender Kari Arnasson headed home a corner via a defender and Alfred Finnbogason made it two before the break.
Ghana, who failed to qualify for the World Cup, hit back through Kasim Nuhu before Thomas Partey fired home three minutes from time.
Shortly before the match, the Ghanaian government announced that it would dissolve its FA after officials, including the body’s president, were shown in a documentary taking kickbacks, Information Minister Mustapha Abdul-Hamid said.
The two-hour documentary, “When Greed and Corruption Become the Norm”, was provided to the authorities last month before being screened in public for the first time on Wednesday.
FIFA said it had allocated 2,403,116 World Cup tickets since sales started in September, 2017, with Latin Americans among the biggest non-Russian buyers.
Russian fans bought nearly 900,000 tickets, followed by supporters from the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Germany, Mexico, Argentina, Peru, China, Australia and England.
(Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne, editing by Ed Osmond)