m3n4.net
m3n4.net July 16, 2018


But there was one bright spot from Belgium defeat

30 June 2018, 12:38 | Tracey Rhodes

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With the benefit of being the last teams to play in the group stage, both teams will have full knowledge of the knockout bracket by the time they kickoff at 6am - which may lead to the unusual situation of both teams attempting to lose the match.

"We think that we need to keep winning football matches and we want to breed a mentality that everybody in our squad consistently wants to win", he said in his pre-match press conference.

Get the latest World Cup news updates. "Now, rather than having players not on the training ground because they're recovering, we'll have a gym session on Friday and players ready to start training for Colombia the next day". England are now on two yellows, Belgium three.

Januzaj was a child prodigy at Manchester United and was once earmarked for an England place through naturalized citizenship, but on Thursday he proved the difference for Belgium in a vital win over The Three Lions.

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However, due to results elsewhere, the team that finishes second in the group will end up on the easier side of the draw for the knockout stages, avoiding a potential showdown with Brazil in the quarterfinals.

It's really the sort of equation a team shouldn't ever have to calculate - much like tanking in some American sports. "There are players who have been in very demanding games so it´s very important for us to protect and give every player the best opportunity to be in the best condition in the knockout games".

Southgate is confident England can beat Colombia on Tuesday, while Roberto Martinez says he is happy to have set up a tie against Japan by winning the group - despite admitting it is logistically a tougher ask.

Never mind the fact England's Round of 16 meeting with Colombia will prove far more complicated than Belgium's second-round tilt with a Japanese side that's fortunate to still be here. Cue the celebrations from the Belgians led by Michy Batshuayi, who picks up the ball, dropped kick it and promptly hits the post and gets smacked right in the face by the rebound.

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Martinez has hailed the pleasure his whole squad have been taking on the pitch and has worked to build a team spirit where clashes of egos bedevilled the Belgians under his predecessor Marc Wilmots at the last World Cup and at Euro 2016.

The other group game is between Panama and Tunisia.

This added individual wrinkle - along with the players' natural competitiveness - will certainly effect how both sides approach tomorrow's match.

Former England defender Martin Keown told BBC Sport: "I'd have him in the team because of the balance he has". Belgium's 1-0 win sent it into the side of the bracket containing four World Cup winners and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal. We saw that in the Euros two years ago. "The lads coming in demonstrated to me that if he [Southgate] wants to change things, if he's up against things as the competition goes on, he's not going to be able to count on the likes of Fabian Delph, Loftus-Cheek".

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