Coupled with a Ronaldinho-esque bit of skill, Rashford’s goal-scoring exploits and an all-around excellent display earned him Man of the Match honours in the 2-1 win.
Social media was abuzz from the moment he scored, with the reactions flowing in even a day later.
Marcus Rashford is such a prodigious talent. 👏👏— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) June 7, 2018
Rashyyyyy 🌟🤤— Santi Gomes (@agomes_47) June 7, 2018
🗣 “In two years, he’ll be one of the best in the world. He scores those daily in training."— Football__Tweet (@Football__Tweet) June 8, 2018
- Fabian Delph on Marcus Rashford. ⚽ pic.twitter.com/igO5WRkRVa
But he was named in the 2010 winners’ squad and will be “ready”, his manager says.
Whether he features in Saturday’s final friendly with Tunisia is another matter, with Lopetegui telling Marca he is having to rein the player in.
“You have to hold him back slightly,” he said.
“But I’m sure he’ll be ready. You want him to take two steps forward instead of just one before suffering a setback.”
Lopetegui is banking on having midfielder Sergio Busquets available to face Tunisia – England’s group-stage opponents.
The Barcelona man missed the friendly with Switzerland due to illness.
“Sergio has recovered perfectly,” Lopetegui added. “Provided nothing else happens, he’ll play.”
The game is being played in Krasnodar, with the sides already in Russia in a bid to acclimatise ahead of their opening clashes.
“It’s one more step, we didn’t choose Tunisia by chance,” Lopetegui said.
“They have a very good team and will demand a lot of us. We need to fine-tune things and arrive at the first match with balance, both physically and mentally.”
Spain start out against Portugal a week on Saturday, with Tunisia facing England the following Monday.
World Cup holders Germany have signed off their preparations for this summer’s event with a 2-1 friendly triumph against Saudi Arabia – ending a five-match winless run.
In the absence of controversially cut Manchester City winger Leroy Sane, a tap-in from Timo Werner and own goal from Al Nassr centre-back Omar Hawsawi earned a 2-0 half-time lead.
But the Green Falcons – preparing for a first global tournament since 2006 – remained undaunted. They gained respectability through veteran Al Ahli Jeddah midfielder Taisir Al Jassim’s 84th-minute rebound from Al Nassr striker Mohammad Al Sahlawi’s weak penalty after Juventus midfielder Sami Khedira’s trip on the former.
SO LONG, SANE
The man who’d commanded the most headlines in the build-up was not present at BayArena.
It didn’t take long on Friday for the retained front line of Bayern Munich’s Thomas Muller, Borussia Dortmund’s Marco Reus, Paris Saint-Germain’s Julian Draxler and RB Leipzig’s Werner to end any discussion about PFA Young Player of the Year Sane’s tournament exclusion.
In the first half alone on Friday, Reus – standing in for injured Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil – latched onto Bayern right-back Joshua Kimmich’s superb long ball to tee Werner up for a tap-in that earned an eighth goal in 14 internationals.
Reus then played Werner into the clear, his centre being deflected into his own net by sprawled Al Nassr centre-back Omar Hawsawi.
Fluidity that proved beyond the undoubtedly brilliant Sane, in this particular system.
ALL HAIL FLUID FALCONS
The problem that has eaten away at coach Juan Antonio Pizzi’s seven-month reign has received its answer.
With 16-goal joint-global qualifying top scorer Al Sahlawi and fellow centre forward Muhannad Aseri in rotten touch, Saudi’s hopes of extricating themselves from a forgiving Group A appeared hamstrung.
A striker-less solution, that first appeared in May 28’s revitalising second half of the 2-1 defeat at Italy, gained further evidence this weekend. Especially when a late and woeful spot-kick from substitute Al Sahlawi required Al Jassim’s composure on the rebound from Barcelona shot stopper Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s simple save.
With Al Ittihad flyer Fahad Al Muwallad as the peripatetic centre point, the Green Falcons managed to unsettle their esteemed hosts – ranked No1 by FIFA.
Al Muwallad saw a first-half shot go just past Bayern goalkeeper Manuel Neuer’s near post in the first half, while a sharp move on the hour mark ended up with Villarreal loanee Salem Al Dawsari lashing wildly from the edge of the penalty area.
Such vitality on Thursday’s opening night at Luzhniki Stadium could gain ample reward against Russian hosts chastened by awful form, rock-bottom expectations and a defence routed by injury.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
History hung over this meeting for both teams.
The first World Cup memories for several members of this Saudi squad would be 2002’s 8-0, Miroslav Klose-inspired mauling by Germany.
A 67-place gap in the global rankings would have only increased the fear factor. Yet even amid a 2-1 scoreline, both sides could emerge with credit and hope.
The Green Falcons exorcised the demons from last week’s 3-0 thrashing against Peru, admittedly suffered by a second string. Play like this against Russia, Uruguay and Egypt and 1994’s run to the round of 16 isn’t a pipe dream.
For champions Germany, a low-octane second half produced zero injuries and the alchemy enjoyed by their front line appears promising.
Sunday’s Group F-starter against Mexico should be a sight to behold.