Marcus Rashford might start on bench for England despite Costa Rica show, says John Barnes

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John Barnes believes England’s Marcus Rashford may start the World Cup as a substitute despite an eye-catching display against Costa Rica.

Rashford opened the scoring with a blistering strike in the final pre-tournament friendly on Thursday, giving manager Gareth Southgate a timely reminder of his skills with a bright, attacking display.

Southgate must now consider whether the Manchester United forward has done enough to earn a starting shirt against Tunisia on June 18 but would need to rejig his system or drop Raheem Sterling to make room.

“Of course he has given Gareth Southgate something to think about, but if he plays Rashford as an attacking player does that mean Raheem doesn’t play?” Barnes told Press Association Sport.

“Raheem will start, for me, and I think Gareth likes Jesse Lingard too. Is Rashford on form? One goal in one game isn’t form because he hasn’t been doing that all season.

“Form isn’t one game before the World Cup, it’s achieved over a consistent period of time.

“But the good thing is he’s given you a problem, you know coming off the bench he give you something. It’s pleasing to know you can rely on him but I don’t believe he will necessarily start.”

Raheem Sterling of England

Barnes, who is a Lidl grassroots ambassador, has been impressed by the efforts England have made to connect with fans, with squad members speaking openly and honestly in the media and a handful of players stopping late in the evening at Elland Road to sign shirts and pose for pictures with fans.

He also believes they will reach the quarter-finals in Russia and have a chance to do even better.

“They’ve made a conscious effort to get the fans on their side, there’s harmony,” he said.

“Stopping and signing autographs, taking selfies – that’s not a very modern Premier League thing to do. Players these days can be a little detached from their communities but they’ve clearly made an effort to change that.

“Going to this World Cup I think they can beat anyone but a feature of this young, inexperienced team is that they are going to be inconsistent.

“At times they will be brilliant and at times they’ll be okay. I expect quarter-finals. From there they’d have to put together three very good performances against the likes of Germany, Spain, Brazil.

“Of course they can win it but I won’t put any pressure on them. At the Euros in two years or the next World Cup there’ll be more demands.”

Provided by Press Association Sport

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Switzerland World Cup 2018 squad and team guide as Xherdan Shaqiri is key man

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For a country that has a proud tradition of neutrality, it comes as no surprise that their football team is often shy of attacking.

World Cup history suggests Switzerland like to shut up shop before they cash in. They did not concede at the 2006 World Cup, and let in just the one goal four years later. All they had to show for it was respective round-of-16 and group stage exits, scoring just five goals in that seven game span.

Perhaps inspired by Brazilian flair, Switzerland danced to the tune of a samba beat in South America in 2014 and shook off those ‘solid, if not spectacular’ shackles.

A last-ditch winner against Ecuador, a 5-2 thumping at the hands of France and then a Xherdan Shaqiri hat-trick against Honduras – the Swiss were on a roll.

All the nervousness that comes with a knockout game appeared as they were knocked out by finalists Argentina after extra-time in the next round, but even still, there was potential to work with.

Now worry has resurfaced. Having been pipped to the automatic spot by Portugal during the qualifiers, the Swiss squeaked past plucky Northern Ireland thanks to a big dose of drama.

In the first leg of the play-off, Vladimir Petkovic’s side were awarded a penalty after the ball was smashed, at close range, into Corry Evans and it ricocheted off his arm.

The decision did not go down well in Belfast. Back at St Jakob Park, where Switzerland had only lost once in 16 years, it was Northern Ireland who looked the superior side even though the hosts bumbled through.

In Shaqiri, the Swiss have a winger of genuine world-class ability who has not truly kicked on since starring in Brazil. With all respect to Stoke, Shaqiri would be playing his football 40 miles north in Manchester if he had.

Those two are the least of Petkovic’s problems, though – Haris Seferovic is the latest striker to fall foul of the boo-boys after falling flat in the play-offs.

There is hope. The injury stricken Schalke striker Breel Embolo may yet provide the solution and that Swiss solidity is a platform to be built upon, not sniffed at.

KEY PLAYER

Xherdan Shaqiri

Xherdan Shaqiri

The one player who can be relied upon to inject Switzerland with some unpredictability. An expert set-piece taker, as seen in the Premier League with Stoke, and though his nickname ‘Alpine Messi’ may be a misnomer he does have a penchant for the spectacular.

COACH

Vladimir Petkovic

Vladimir Petkovic

Sarajevo-born Petkovic has been based in Switzerland for the majority of his managerial career, but in his one season with Lazio lifted the Coppa Italia. Under pressure to boost his side’s anemic attack – has enough tools at his disposal to at least make a good fist of it.

CAPTAIN

Stephan Lichtsteiner

Stephan Lichtsteiner

The wing-back has been in the professional game since 2001, but at the age of 34, he is no longer first-choice for Juventus and will leave this summer. He will be an extremely experienced voice in the dressing room – but can he still lead by example on the pitch?

YOUNG STAR

Breel Embolo

Breel Embolo

A man featured on many ‘youngsters to watch’ shortlists as a teenager, the now 21-year-old has had his progress stunted by injuries. At his best, powerful, pacy and composed in front of goal – could well start up front given the lack of options.

KEY FACTS AND STATS

– Josef Hugl scored a national record six goals when leading Switzerland to the quarterfinals of the 1954 World Cup

– This is Switzerland’s 11th World Cup. They have a history in the competition dating back to 1934

– Switzerland went the entirety of their 2006 World Cup campaign without conceding – 559 minutes – but lost on penalties to Ukraine in the last-16

FIFA Rating

78 DEF 77 MID 76 ATT

World Cups competed at

11 (First in 1934)

World Cup record

P33, W11, D6, L16

Best finish

Quarter-finals (1934, 1938 & 1954)

Qualification record

P12, W10, D1, L1

World ranking

6

SQUAD

Switzerland2

Goalkeepers: Y. Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach), R. Burki (Borussia Dortmund), Y. Mvogo (Leipzig).

Defenders: S. Lichtsteiner (Juventus), J. Djourou (Antalyaspor), R. Rodriguez (Milan), F. Schar (Deportivo La Coruna), F. Moubandje (Toulouse), M. Lang (Basel), M. Akanji (Borussia Dortmund), N. Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach).

Midfielders: V. Behrami (Udinese), X. Shaqiri (Stoke), G. Fernandes (Eintracht Frankfurt), B. Zemaili (Bologna), G. Xhaka (Arsenal), S. Zuber (Hoffenheim), R. Freuler (Atalanta), D. Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach).

Strikers: H, Seferovic (Benfica), J. Drmic (Borussia Monchengladbach), B. Embolo (Schalke), M. Gavranovic (Dinamo Zagreb).

VERDICT

Switzerland are favourites for Group E’s runners-up spot. A well-oiled machine needs to use its gears in attack to progress much further.

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Argentina's Manuel Lanzini ruled out of 2018 World Cup due to ACL injury

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Manuel Lanzini has suffered a serious knee injury in training which appears likely to rule the playmaker out of the World Cup.

The 25-year-old helped West Ham climb the Premier League table in 2018 which earned a place in Argentina’s World Cup squad.

Argentina said on Twitter on Friday: “Manuel Lanzini suffered, in today’s morning training, the rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee.”

Such an injury usually leads to an absence of months, rather than weeks.Lanzini, who scored five goals in 29 appearances for the Hammers in 2017/18, has made three appearances for Argentina, scoring his first goal in March’s 2-0 victory over Italy.

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