(AP) — England will prepare for the World Cup with friendlies against Nigeria and Costa Rica before flying to Russia.
Gareth Southgate’s side will play Nigeria at Wembley Stadium on June 2 and head to northern England to take on Costa Rica five days later.
Southgate says a 0-0 draw against Brazil in a November friendly “acted as a reminder that we need to challenge ourselves in different ways as a team.”
England opens its World Cup campaign on June 18 against Tunisia in Volgograd and also plays Panama and Belgium in the group stage.
Southgate says “we want to expose the team to different styles and different experiences.”
England has friendlies in March at Wembley against two teams that failed to qualify for the World Cup: the Netherlands and Italy.