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Soccer-England to play with young guns v Costa Rica

Reuters

By Karolos Grohmann

BELO HORIZONTE, Brazil, June 23 (Reuters) - England coach Roy Hodgson will field a newlook team with many World Cup novices in their final game against Costa Rica on Tuesday to give them a chance to perform on the biggest stage, he said on Monday.

England suffered an early exit after losing their first two games to Italy and Uruguay to record their worst World Cup showing since 1958 with the game against Costa Rica only important for the Central Americans, who are eager to top Group D.

Hodgson said he would try to use as many of the players who have yet to feature in the tournament in Brazil to give them the chance to showcase their skills and restore pride for the team and their fans.

"We are conscious of the fact that our fans are devastated but they are still here and I hope they can take some encouragement from it (game) and most importantly it is a top class international on the biggest stage," he told reporters.

"We are taking the game very, very seriously and will try to win it," said Hodgson, who proceeded to name his lineup.

England will play with Ben Foster in goal, replacing Joe Hart.

Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling and Luke Shaw will make up the defence with James Milner, Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley and Adam Lallana in midfield and Daniel Sturridge up front.

"I am handing them a great opportunity on this fantastic stage. I can't do more than that and I fully believe they will not let me or the fans down," Hodgson said.

"This is a chance to show that they are good players... that there is an inkling that we are on the right track."

Hodgson said it was not all bad despite England's early exit with the work done in the past few years starting to pay off.

"I would like to think that there are things we are trying to do as a footballing nation, build the confidence and all we can do for now is hope the work we have put in....will show some dividends."

As for their early exit, he said the past days had been difficult, especially when it came to picking his players up.

"I have learned how painful it is to build up your hopes, a good preparation to be of no avail because it did not get us where we wanted," the 66-year-old said.

"I have learned that it (World Cup) is unbelievably unforgiving. A moment of sheer misfortune can throw everybody into the realm of despair that you did not think possible. It has been a very, very tough few days." (Editing by Ed Osmond)

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