It was a night in which Gareth Southgate shuffled around his package a lot, asking if a number of players outside of his England squad could cope with the weight of the shirt. At full time, with Côte d’Ivoire demoralized and dismantled, the coach had a forceful response.
From start to finish this was a procession, the visitors apparently wanting to be somewhere else, ideally the playoffs for Africa’s five World Cup places that were taking place without them. The Elephants had said goodbye when they finished second behind Cameroon in the qualifying group stage.
Their captain, Serge Aurier, helped England when he was sent off in the 40th minute for a second yellow card, which appeared to be for dissent. It was such a strange moment, out of the tone of friendlies, that it sounded like death as a contest.
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