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The 2018 World Cup finals starts tomorrow, with hosts Russia to face Saudi Arabia in the competition opener in Moscow.
In today’s news, Gareth Southgate has confirmed one in-form England attacker has picked up a knock and Spain have had movement on the coaching front.
Poland exerted dominance in their final pre-tournament friendly, with Robert Lewandowski in ominous form.
Rashford knock revealed
While most of the England side to face Tunisia in their competition opener picks itself, a key selection decision Gareth Southgate must make relates to Marcus Rashford.
The Manchester United attacker has been in excellent form in recent international friendlies, leading to a call from some quarters for the forward to be brought into the starting line-up.
However, Rashford has picked up a slight knock in England training on Monday at the team’s base in Repino.
Sky Sports state the devastating attacker’s injury is not deemed overly serious and his participation in the tournament is not at risk – but Southgate’s decision for the Tunisia game may well have been made for him.
Lopetegui agrees Real Madrid deal
Spain’s preparations for the World Cup have been close to perfect, with the 2010 champions one of the favourites in the football betting odds given their pre-tournament form.
However, head coach Julen Lopetegui has agreed a three-year deal to replace Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid after the competition, the La Liga side announced on Monday night.
With the World Cup start so close and Spain to play Portugal on Friday night, the timing of the announcement is curious to say the least.
Top nations hoping to win the tournament, and the three other teams in Group B, will hope Lopetegui’s pending departure rattles La Roja this summer.
Poland flex muscles in friendly win
In the final pre-tournament friendly of competing World Cup nations, Poland put in a dominant display to beat Lithuania 4-0 in Warsaw.
A first-half brace from main man Robert Lewandowski set the tone for the victory, while Dawid Kownacki and Jakub Blaszcykowski also got on the scoresheet.
Ahead of what looks set to be a tightly contested Group H, Poland will hope the win helps build momentum before their games against Colombia, Senegal and South Korea.