June 21, 2018

England plays friendly against Nigeria before jetting off to the World Cup

04 June 2018, 02:19 | Kristopher Drake

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The England, Nigeria friendly played at the Wembley Stadium on Saturday could have gone either way.

And despite his penchant for simulation, Alli was in fact being jeered by Nigerian fans for turning down the chance to represent the Super Eagles.

Overall, it was a good test for England, who looked sharp early on but faded after a number of personnel changes, with nearly all the substitutes failing to make much of an impression during their cameo appearances.

"So, I think the England team have a good chance of getting the quarters, even the semis I think".

Aina agrees, and says although the banter will be friendly, Alli will still get an earful.

"We have to be totally focused in Austria, train harder, morning and afternoon and try to correct our mistakes", he said after the Eagles lost 2-1 to England at Wembley on Saturday.

Ian KINGTON / AFP Nigeria's midfielder John Obi Mikel runs with the ball during the global friendly football match between England and Nigeria at Wembley stadium in London on June 2, 2018.

The scoreline may have been tight, but there were a few players on each side who gave a good account of themselves ahead of the big competition.

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"He's in England, and struggling for his life, and we will play for him at this World Cup".

"Second half they scored and it puts the pressure on but we got back into it an kept the ball and came back well".

If England lacked one thing, it was a composed and cultured central midfielder capable of dictating their tempo at the times they needed to adapt.

"We played football like we wanted to play". This is a World Cup match for us.

Alli is also not fazed by criticism of his form this season, insisting he is only motivated by the standards he sets for himself. If we can combine those together in the flawless way then we can go far.

It is a sign of England's decline that Gareth Southgate, and the Football Association, would readily take the deal now if a last eight-place was on offer in Russian Federation.

The England boss opted to start Raheem Sterling despite the Manchester City forward's late arrival to England's World Cup training camp, per Dominic Fifield at the Guardian.

England play their final warm-up game against Costa Rica at Elland Road, Leeds on Thursday, 7 June.

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