Marcus Rashford praises Chelsea FC star after England defeat

Ruben Holloway
June 30, 2018

In the opening match against Tunisia, it was his bullet header that was too hot for Mouez Hassen to handle and left Harry Kane with a simple tap in for England's opener, before scoring two headers against Panama as England ran riot in Nizhny Novgorod.

"That is the least of my concerns", Southgate said.

"Better to lose to Neymar than Granit Xhaka, to die a heroic death at the height of your powers", said the Guardian, comparing Arsenal's Swiss midfielder to the world's most expensive player. But what his selection decisions did mean was that the majority of the players who are expected to feature in the next round got some additional rest, and Southgate will hope the side looks suitably refreshed come Tuesday.

"So, we are in to big matches where margins will be fine and judgement on me will be extremely harsh". That's why we're here.

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This half of the bracket features big names in two high-powered matches right out of the gate: A loaded France squad plays Lionel Messi and Argentina in Saturday's early game, followed by Uruguay and Luis Suarez against Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo, with the winners meeting July 6. "I wasn't so comfortable with the love-in (before the game), to be honest, so nice that there's a little bit of an edge back".

Colombia - ranked four places below England at 16th in the world - will provide a stern test of the side's progress under Southgate and their defence in particular.

England have lost six times out of seven on spot-kicks at major tournaments, with their coach Gareth Southgate guilty of missing against Germany at Euro 96.

"Many different reasons", Southgate said of England's knockout struggles.

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"Maybe we didn't have as many runners in behind tonight and we didn't have the link between the lines quite as well, but lots of good individual moments for all of the players and a lot that we can learn from as well". Some disciplinary, some have been penalty shootouts.

"But more often than not we have not been able to win those matches in normal time or in extra-time".

The former defender pointed to Colombia star James Rodriguez's injury in their final group game as an example of this risk he would been taking in Kaliningrad, where he remained positive despite their first defeat in a year.

There was a odd feeling around the game as both teams were already assured of progress to the last 16, with talk about the best path to the final compounded by a combined 17 changes.

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