England continued preparations for their own adventure by holding an internal match at St George’s Park on Monday lunchtime.
were joined by stand-by midfielder Jake Livermore in a game held on the Sir Bobby Charlton Pitch, where referee Anthony Taylor oversaw proceedings.
Players switched between the teams that wore England’s white and black training tops, allowing Southgate to look at different combinations as all the squad members received some involvement.
England split up into two teams and played against each other in their final warm-up before leaving for the World Cup
Defender Kyle Walker slides in as he looks to dispossess Raheem Sterling during the game at St George’s Park
The two teams wore different colour shirts to make it seem like a real game with Dele Alli up against Ashley Young
England manager Gareth Southgate held a brief meeting with his squad at the end of Monday’s training session
Coming on the back of the 2-1 win against Nigeria and 2-0 victory over Costa Rica, Southgate had always planned to then have an internal game away from the public gaze – and overzealous challenges.
‘We didn’t want a third game,’ the former defender said last month.
‘When there’s been a third competitive game, there comes a point when the players are just trying to avoid injury really. You’ve got your minutes.
‘We played a behind-closed-doors game in France (at the 1998 World Cup) with Glenn (Hoddle) against local opposition, which I thought worked quite well.
‘But a couple of them went flying into tackles and you’re thinking ‘bloody hell’, and you’re just jumping out the way of things.
Harry Kane heads the ball during England’s training session at St George’s Park on Sunday
Gareth Southgate is busy figuring out his best starting XI for the World Cup in Russia
‘So, there’s a balance of how much you think you need physically, and how much mentally the players, do they want another game? Actually at that point I’m not convinced they do.
‘And if it’s public you’ve got to hit a level of performance, you’ve got to entertain the supporters, and maybe all the players aren’t ready to go again.
‘So we thought, two games on the timeline was good, then a game internally where we’re still working on things but a bit more a physical assessment as well than just a normal training session.’
Southgate cannot wait to touch down in Russia on Tuesday and kick on with England’s final World Cup preparations.
Following a home-based camp that could hardly have gone better, the so far injury-free Three Lions will head east for the final phase of training and fine-tuning.
England get their campaign underway against Tunisia in Volgograd next Monday
The Three Lions held an internal match at St George’s Park on Monday lunchtime
The 23 squad members went head-to-head in a game held on the Sir Bobby Charlton Pitch
England’s Group G opener against Tunisia in Volgograd is now just a week away, with anticipation and excitement sure to go up another notch when the team lands in Russia just two days before the World Cup starts.
The Three Lions will make their way from St George’s Park to Birmingham Airport on Tuesday afternoon, when they will fly to St Petersburg and go to their base in nearby Repino.
‘We’re pleased with how preparation has gone up until now,’ England manager Southgate said.
‘We fly out tomorrow, so it’ll be good to get on with it now. Everybody is looking forward to getting to the first game.’