England face Belgium with top spot at stake

England face Belgium with top spot at stake

Javier Howell
June 30, 2018

Having got this odd game out of the way, both Belgium and England can now focus fully on going deep into the World Cup knock-out stages and their fresh legs could be crucial.

Having seen first-half bookings for Youri Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker cheered by Belgian fans keen to avoid a possible quarterfinal clash with Brazil - the bookings ensured Belgium would lose a fair play head-to-head with England - Januzaj's curling strike on 51 minutes was a celebrated with surprising passion by the Belgians and their supporters.

Both teams have already qualified for the knockout stages after winning their first two games.

Adnan Januzaj's goal - The game at times may have lacked quality, but one moment that definitely did not was Adnan Januzaj's brilliant goal.

The sides were even on points, goals scored and goal differential, meaning the victor would go on to face Japan, the Group H runner-up, next Monday in the Round of 16. This means that if there's a draw, the victor will be decided by the fairplay score.

Tuesday, in the Spartak Stadium, will tell us all, but the England manager was unrepentant about his decisions after this game, insisting that it was sensible, rather than foolish, to keep his big guns off the pitch. We feel we're a team who are improving. That would mean we top the group and then we can move forward. We want to perform well but the priority is not to win.

"None of us know if this side of the draw is advantageous or not".

"There are players on yellow cards".

"Be positive more than ever I think now". "I thought Senegal would also be a very tough game in a different way". We're very clear about where we are as a team, and we'll continue to work to get better.

England coach Gareth Southgate could barely contain his delight in finding himself on the less challenging side of the draw.

Neymar limps out of Brazil World Cup 2018 training
But the spotlight will also be on Coutinho, whose performance against Switzerland contrasted with Neymar's lackluster showing. One of the photos showed the playmaker touching the ball with his injured right ankle. " I think it will be a great game .

"We want to win football matches and we also know the big game is the knockout tie to come, so it was hard to balance all of those".

In the other match in Group G, Tunisia notched their first win at a World Cup for 40 years, beating debutants Panama 2-1 to leave Russian Federation on a high.

Southgate appears to be gesturing towards saying yes.

The Three Lions showed more attacking intent during the final stages of the first half but they were let down by their final pass, as the sides went into the break scoreless.

The World Cup final will be on Sunday, July 15.

In fact Pitt-Brooke considered the farcical approach to the game from both teams as against the spirit this World Cup has been played in.

Belgium made 9 changes and England eight as star strikers Romalu Lukaku and Harry Kane were rested. And both players will be keen to increase their tally tomorrow.

Marcus Rashford had England's best opportunity to equalise midway into the second half.

He was also able to try out with success Thomas Vermaelen, the Barcelona defender out injured for over a month, and later in the game to give a run out to defensive talisman Vincent Kompany, who had also yet to play in Russian Federation due to injury.