Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson are main men as England take on Panama at the World Cup

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England tackle their second World Cup 2018 match on Sunday when they take on Panama at the Nizhny Novogorod Stadium.

The Group G clash may see a change or two in personnel but a few star performers from the first round of fixtures will be expected to deliver again as well.

Here’s a look at some of the main protagonists ahead of the encounter.

DANGEROUS ATTACKERS

Marcus Rashford v Blas Perez

Raheem Sterling may be dropped in favour of Marcus Rashford according to reports from the England camp. The Manchester United forward has had some impressive displays on the international stage of late and following the team’s wastefulness in front of goal, Gareth Southgate is naturally tempted to give him an opportunity.

Rashford’s pace and eye for goal means he’s always a threat but his link-up play may prove valuable against a Panama side inclined to sit deep and defend.

Meanwhile, Blas Perez led the line for Panama against Belgium and should resume his role up front but it is his aggression towards the opposition’s players and ability to bring those around him into play that makes him more dangerous than his ability in front of goal.

The striker is known for his bruising displays and was even sent off in a recent friendly against Denmark. He didn’t register a single shot in his 72-minute spell last time out but did win six headers and held the ball up well before releasing his team-mates.

Marcus Rashford

Opportunity beckons for Marcus Rashford.

MIDFIELD ANCHORMEN

Jordan Henderson v Gabriel Gomez

The Liverpool skipper got the nod ahead of Eric Dier for the holding midfield role against Tunisia and given his performance, the Tottenham man may face find a starting berth hard to come by over the course of the tournament.

England enjoyed plenty of possession but to Henderson’s credit, he didn’t play it safe and simply recycle possession. He actively seeked to undo Tunisia’s defence with several forward passes and sprayed the ball around admirably.

In fact, he played seven long balls in the match – usually diagonally to one of the flanks in his attempts to stretch play – and was accurate with six of them. A similar display will be required against Panama.

On the other hand, Gabriel Gomez’s role as anchorman in Panamas midfield could not be more different. When he did receive the ball, his primary objective was to keep possession and he did that well as his 97.8 per cent pass accuracy against Belgium would suggest.

However, when the opportunity presented itself, he was keen to go long towards Perez who was then expected to hold it up. He managed that flawlessly as well, making all of his six attempted long balls.

Otherwise, the bulk of his contributions were made in a defensive aspect with his three interceptions standing out. Given England’s runners from midfield, Gomez will have to be on his guard.

Gabriel Gomez (r) kept a close eye on Belgium's attackers.

Gabriel Gomez (r) kept a close eye on Belgium’s attackers.

STARS IN DEFENCE

Kevin Trippier v Roman Torres

Kevin Trippier was one of England’s best players in their opener. Playing more like a winger, his delivery from the right flank was exceptional.

The Spurs wing-back may be called upon to produce more of the same against a Panama side that will be expected to congest the central areas. With space to exploit against Tunisia, he wasn’t afraid to take a man on as well, registering three dribbles in the process.

At the other end, if Panama manage to keep England at bay, a large part of that will be down to Roman Torres. The experienced centre-back is a no-nonsense defender. He made three interceptions and a remarkable eight clearance to frustrate Belgium for much of the game last time out.

He’s strong in the air and is a real threat from set-pieces in the opposition’s penalty area.

Kieran Trippier's delivery will be key.

Kieran Trippier’s delivery will be key.

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Brazil underwhelm as Philippe Coutinho rescues Canarinho with late goal in 2-0 win over Costa Rica

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The struggles of the elite nations at the World Cup continued as Brazil laboured in their 2-0 victory against Costa Rica.

Philippe Coutinho was the hero for the South Americans, scoring the crucial opener and simultaneously breaking Los Ticos hearts beyond 90 minutes.

Neymar added even later gloss when he tapped in with virtually the last kick of the game to put Brazil on the brink of the knockouts and send Costa Rica home.

In a nondescript first half of little creation or chances, Costa Rica grew into the game and defended fairly comfortably.

Brazil coach Tite turned to his bench in the second half for inspiration as Douglas Costa was introduced for the woeful Willian.

It didn’t appear as if it was going to work until a ball into the box fell kindly for Barcelona man Coutinho who poked past the excellent Keylor Navas in the 91st minute. Salt was rubbed into the wounds of the Central Americans even later when Neymar converted Douglas Costa’s cross.

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Costa Rica player ratings as Gamboa is stand-out but Borges flops in defeat to Brazil

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Cristian Gamboa marshalled Neymar from right-back.

Costa Rica were beaten 2-0 by Brazil in their Group E World Cup clash on Friday afternoon.

Two late goals, firstly by Philippe Coutinho in the 91st minute, and then Neymar in the sixth minute of added time, sealed the Ticos’ fate after a heroic display.

It leaves the Samba side on fives points after two games, and Costa Rica propping up the table.

Serbia and Switzerland face-off on Saturday.

Here, we rate the performance of Oscar Ramirez’s men.

Costa Rica 3-4-2-1

Keylor Navas – 8: Used all his experience and did exceptionally well to smoother Neymar’s advance through on goal in first-half. Handling was exceptional and made some fine saves in second period. Could do nothing with the goals.

Johnny Acosta – 6: Part of committed back three who did everything within their limited powers to keep Brazil at bay, but sadly, it wasn’t enough in the end.

Giancarlo Gonzalez – 6: Strong in the air and did more than anyone to make the Costa Rica defence as watertight as possible.

Oscar Duarte – 7: Cool and calm presence, never afraid to get on the ball and make a pass. Made several crucial blocks and put body on the line for the cause.

Cristian Gamboa – 8: Fantastic bursting run down the right flank on 13 minutes and cut ball back superbly to Borges, who hit the ball wide from 12 yards. Made two crucial blocks in second-half and was generally everywhere. Star man.

Celso Borges – 4: The guilty party with that bad miss when he at least needed to work the goalkeeper. Poor technique proved costly and let Coutinho run off him for what turned out to be crucial goal.

David Guzman – 6: Covered plenty of ground in the middle and did steady job at thwarting Brazil’s advances from midfield. Subbed late on.

Bryan Oviedo – 5: Sunderland man failed to get forward to his usual good effect and struggled to contain Douglas Costa after his arrival on the pitch.

Bryan Ruiz – 6: Chief playmaker was quiet as his nation struggled to create a good opening on goal. Nevertheless, still looked most likely to create something.

Marco Urena – 5: Los Angeles forward again struggled to make much of an impact and was holed off on 54 minutes.

Johan Venegas – 6:  Offered an outlet and got in the thick of things when Ruiz chipped into Brazil penalty area, and the Samba side struggled to clear on 68 minutes.

Substitutes:

Christian Bolanos – 6: Showed more that Urena and certainly made Costa Rica more dynamic from a forward perspective.

Francisco Calvo – 4: It was a gamble to take Gamboa off, who was partly running on empty, but his replacement Calvo struggled dearly with positional play.

Yeltsin Tejeda – 5: Yet again another risky, late substitution as Costa Rica seemed to lose powers of communication.

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