Sunday, 23 September, 2018

Why England should lose to Belgium and land dream World Cup draw

ENGLAND WAGS SPLASH NEWS GLAMOUR The stunning partners posed outside a swish Japanese restaurant
| 28 June, 2018, 13:45

Both teams are already through to the knockout stages, with the victor of their clash progressing as group winners.

If England win, the star strikers looking to take them down are Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez, Mbappe, Neymar and Javier Hernandez. A draw will see them finish second, unless England accrue more yellows.

England´s forward Harry Kane celebrates with England´s midfielder Jordan Henderson (R) after scoring a penalty during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group G football match between England and Panama at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on June 24, 2018. That's not a route for a successful team.

"Even as a young player you maybe only get one World Cup.

He had no further damage but it is still uncomfortable", Martinez told his pre-match news conference on the eve of the game.

England impressed in their opening two World Cup games, albeit against weak opposition, beating Tunisia 2-1 in Volgograd then thrashing Panama 6-1 in Nizhny Novgorod. England have not won a knockout game at a major tournament in 12 years, and that includes defeat against Iceland. "Thibaut Courtois has been at a very good level, and I think it is positive for him to carry on playing, so I can guarantee you he will start tomorrow". "We want to win". We expect several changes to personnel, given the strength and depth in the England squad, and Southgate's desire to ensure that those he may need to call on in the knockout phase have had match minutes.

Martinez has already floated the idea of wholesale changes against England, in a game where he claims victory is not a "priority" for his side.


Unlike Southgate, the former Everton and Wigan manager said he was approaching Thursday´s game with one eye firmly on the knockout rounds.

"That's the reality. We wanted to qualify, we've done that".

The England boss kept his cards close to his chest, only confirming that Eric Dier would make his first World Cup start.

In the other remaining first-round games on Thursday, Japan, Senegal and Colombia are all chasing the two qualification spots in Group H, with Poland out of the picture. They play in the same teams as the English players. Japan are in the best position on paper as they sit top and face already-eliminated Poland.

Whoever finishes runners up of Group G will encounter Brazil or Mexico in the quarter finals, while the victor will face Sweden or Switzerland.

If they manage to get over that huge hurdle, they have the intimidating prospect of France, Argentina, Uruguay or Portugal waiting in the semi-final.

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