World Cup 2018: England squad meets Duke of Cambridge

  • Published
Prince William meeting England teamImage source, Reuters
Image caption,
Prince William met the England team before the friendly against Costa Rica

Prince William has met the England squad as they train ahead of their last World Cup warm-up match in Leeds later.

The Duke of Cambridge, who is President of the Football Association, met the players at the West Riding County Football Association in the city.

The match against Costa Rica is their last friendly game before the World Cup finals in Russia later this month.

There will be 76 Costa Rica supporters at the sold-out Elland Road stadium game, according to the FA.

It is the first time in more than 16 years England have played at the venue.

Jose Enrique Castillo-Barrantes, the Costa Rican ambassador, will also be at the match, his embassy has confirmed.

Costa Rican Gina Tasies, who now lives in Pocklington, East Yorkshire, has got a ticket.

She said: "Anything that we can celebrate we will, so for us [the World Cup] it's a big achievement. We are there and not even Italy or USA are."

The game will give Gareth Southgate a last look at his 23-man squad before their first group match against Tunisia on 18 June.

Seven of the squad are from Yorkshire: Gary Cahill, Harry Maguire, Jamie Vardy and Kyle Walker (Sheffield), Fabian Delph (Bradford), Danny Rose, (Doncaster) and John Stones (Barnsley).

Image source, Reuters
Image caption,
Yorkshire-born players are well represented in the squad
Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
When Harry met William...

England last played at Elland Road in March 2002, when they were beaten 2-1 in a friendly by Italy.

They also drew 3-3 against Sweden there in June 1995 and the stadium was used for three group matches at Euro 96.

Leeds United have played at the ground since the team's formation in 1919.

It was selected by the FA as Yorkshire has a lot of England Supporters' Club members.

Southgate said England's visit would let the team get "to the heart of the communities which support the national team and make them able to connect with the team even closer".

Image source, AFP
Image caption,
Fans in Costa Rica backing the team at an earlier friendly

The republic of Costa Rica

  • Is situated in Central America between Nicaragua and Panama
  • It has a population about 4.8m
  • About 700 Costa Ricans are registered at the consulate in London although more may be studying in the UK
  • It gained independence from Spain in 1821 and has no standing army.
  • In 2014, its football team drew 0-0 with England in the Word Cup group stage on the way to the quarter-finals.

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