Leeds’ Elland Road stadium will host England’s final friendly match ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it has been announced.
Gareth Southgate’s team will take on Costa Rica at the 37,000-seat stadium on Thursday, June 7, with the game to kick off at 8pm.
It will mark the first time that England has played at Elland Road, home to Championship club Leeds United, since 2002 – when Sven-Göran Eriksson’s side lost 2-1 to Italy. The stadium has hosted the national team on one other occasion – in 1995 when England drew 3-3 with Sweden.
Leeds United’s managing director Angus Kinnear said: “It is an honour to host the national team at our home before the side head off to Russia for the World Cup.
“Elland Road is a special arena that has the facilities of a modern stadium, whilst also being a traditional football ground and I am sure that the England team will enjoy the atmosphere that will be created here too.”
England plays the majority of its home games at Wembley, but did play two warm-up games away from the national stadium ahead of the UEFA Euro 2016 tournament, with Manchester’s Etihad Stadium and Sunderland’s Stadium of Light hosting friendlies against Turkey and Australia, respectively.
Southgate said: “We’re immensely proud to play the majority of matches at Wembley, which is always special. Equally, it’s nice when we have an opportunity to take the team on the road. We have a huge following in Yorkshire with large numbers of our members and travelling support coming from that area.
“Having been to Manchester and the North East last time, it’s nice to be able to go to Yorkshire for a different experience for everybody.”
Prior to the Elland Road game, England will face Nigeria at Wembley on Saturday, June 2. England has been drawn alongside Belgium, Panama and Tunisia in Group G at this year’s World Cup in Russia.