The Three Lions or the Red Devils, who comes out on top of Group G?

The Three Lions or the Red Devils, who comes out on top of Group G?

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England vs Belgium – Thursday 28 June, 19:00BST/20:00CEST/21:00 MSK – Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad, Russia

England vs Belgium will take place at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

England vs Belgium will take place at the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

With rotation of players expected on both sides, will we need the first ‘drawing of lots’ to decide who from England vs Belgium marches into the round of 16 as group winners? Both sides have, so far, taken maximum points from their opening two games. Now something must give as England and Belgium look to finish top of Group G.

England are currently flying, their excellent start of six points from all six available has equalled Ron Greenwood’s Spain 1982 side, and even matched the so called ‘golden generation’ coached by Sven-Goran Eriksson during the World Cup in Germany, 2006.

However, despite excellent results against Tunisia and Panama it is Belgium who will give Gareth Southgate’s side their first real test at this World Cup. Parallel to this fascinating fixture is ‘who will actually want to finish top of Group G?’

Japan could face the runners up whilst the winners may face a difficult matchup against Colombia. For the first time at Russia 2018 it could be an easier path for the side who doesn’t win their group. Southgate isn’t convinced however:

“We want to win every game we go into. I don’t know how we would go into a game not wanting to win and not wanting to play well, so, I think that’s dangerous territory, if we start trying to plot and predict where we might end up.” – Gareth Southgate

Roberto Martinez has the experience of winning trophies as a club manager, and in his Belgium squad he has a raft of players who can boast winners medals with their clubs – can this combination come together and win the biggest prize in world football? Arguably this fixture will give the watching masses an indication.

Similar to their opponents on Thursday night, Belgium will want to carry on their good run of form, but Martinez has publicly spoken of his desire to rest certain key players – up to seven would not be beyond the realm of reality.

“I think everyone deserves to play, so it’s more important for me to be able to give that opportunity and see how they can react on the pitch and how much they can contribute. Nobody has got a place guaranteed in this team at the moment. That’s the way we are looking at it, so it could be a possibility to do that, yes” – Roberto Martinez

England vs Belgium – Players to look out for:

Harry Kane #9 – England (Tottenham Hotspur)

Should the captain get his wish and start this game he will be hunting down another set of goals to bring him the Golden Boot. Kane is in a wonderful vein of form, as proved by his third goal against Panama, ricocheting off his heel and into the net – the old adage of can’t stop scoring looks to be currently sat with the England captain.

Harry Kane celebrates after scoring his team’s fifth goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between England and Panama at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on June 24, 2018 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia. (Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images)

Michy Batshuayi #21 – Belgium (Chelsea)

Impressing while on loan at Borussia Dortmund the striker almost saw his dream of appearing at this World Cup crushed at the last moment; however, he recovered quickly from an ankle injury to take his place in the Belgium squad.

With fellow forward, Romelu Lukaku expected to be rested after picking up an injury against Tunisia, the well travelled Batshuayi should become the Red Devil’s main target man against England.

Michy Batshuayi celebrates after scoring during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between Belgium and Tunisia at Spartak Stadium on June 23, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

England vs Belgium – Match Stats

  • This will be the third meeting between England and Belgium at the World Cup, with England so far unbeaten in their encounters.
  • Belgium have won just one of their 21 meetings with England (D5 L15).
  • England have already scored eight goals in the 2018 World Cup (level with 1954 and 1990) – the only time England scored more in a single edition of the competition was in 1966 finishing on 11 goals.

Futbolgrad Network Prediction: England vs Belgium – 2-2

England vs Belgium – Lineups

England:

Formation: 3-5-2

Pickford – Cahill, Stones, Maguire –Alexander-Arnold, Delph, Henderson, Dier, Young  – Vardy, Kane

Head Coach: Gareth Southgate

Belgium:

Formation: 3-4-2-1

Courtois – Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen – Meunier, De Bruyne, Fellaini, Carrasco – Dembele , Thorgen Hazard – Batshuayi

Head Coach: Roberto Martinez

Chris Williams is a freelance European football journalist. Primarily covering the Bundesliga, Premier League and both of UEFA’s European club competitions. Published in both local and international publications, he also contributes to television and radio across the globe. A member of the UK’s Sports Journalist Association and the International Sports Press Association (AIPS). Follow Chris Williams on Twitter @Chris78Williams

COMMENTS

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    Muhammad AY 2 weeks

    2018 World cup totaly don’t organise as watch what happened during Nigeria vs Argentina very poor officiating

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