Belgium pips England to top spot in WCup Group G

Belgium pips England to top spot in WCup Group G

With a spot in the knockout round already cemented, England and Belgium will face off in the final round of group play on Thursday to secure the top place in Group G.

"You can say he is fearless but so is [Belgium manager] Roberto Martinez: he also made a number of changes I think they were both probably looking at the bigger picture and know that the next game is the biggest one of them all".

England sat back and Belgium created little, with audible whistles from the crowd at half-time after a first half containing only 14 shots from both sides.

The Times' chief football writer Henry Winter said the result was a "wake up call" for England, who lacked the creative spark through the middle of the park without their injured playmaker Dele Alli and said that few of the squad players given an opportunity made much of an impression.

"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", he added. "We're facing Japan, we've got to be ready for it", he said. When people say he might have got injured I'd say there's a chance he can get injured in training! But, for me, that was the right thing to do and you've got to take decisions you believe are the right ones.

"At the moment we are qualified and I think that was the priority that we were chasing for", Martinez said. But that is the least of my concerns.

Although Belgium gets what appears to be an easier match against Japan in the round of 16, it could get trickier with a victory in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.

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"So, we're in to big matches where margins will be fine and judgment on me will be extremely harsh".

"The knockout game is the biggest game for a decade for us so we had to make sure our key players were preserved". To be trying to win a first knockout game for 12 years is exciting. They are a risky side and we have got to get through that and not look into the future'. With England pedestrian, the Belgium players passed around the defence and Adnan Januzaj beat Rose, cut inside on his left foot, and released an unstoppable shot into the far corner.

They have drawn twice in group stage games, and their last-16 match in the 1990 World Cup saw England win 1-0 after extra-time. Up front, Harry Kane is expected to start and will be looking to add to his tally of five goals in the tournament.

We've said it once we'll say it again - it's coming home, LADs. In worldwide football, that's just nearly a desperate call to see a loose team with no understanding of what we're trying to do.

"In terms of our team, I don't want to be obstructive but I don't want to give our opposition any help with what our team might be". Everyone can see the level we've been playing at.

"The harmony of the group is really important".

Belgium have some of the best players on the planet, and Roberto Martinez's side will be aiming to go all the way in Russian Federation and win the World Cup.

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