Why England and Belgium both want to lose tomorrow's Group G matchup


SPLASH NEWS CELEBRATE The women were no doubt toasting England's great start to the World Cup

"I think it will be an interesting game, a 50-50 game, and both teams are qualified so it will be a odd game", said Fellaini, who plays in England for Manchester United, having made his name for another Premier League club Everton.

Belgium's side of the draw includes Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and France while England's opponents are, on paper, easier and they face less traveling should they progress. But then this is a slightly weird scenario for all involved: where finishing second in Group G could offer a more favourable run to the semi-finals.

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.

It puts a first World Cup semi-final since 1990 within genuine reach. We could have played them again on Thursday but, earlier in the day, you already saw Colombia lose a key player [James Rodríguez], Japan lose a key player and, had Senegal gone through, they would have lost a key player too.

The penultimate match of the group stages will see England take on Belgium with freaky coincidences as both teams having the exact same number of points, the exact same number of goal difference, the exact same number of goals scored, but England leads the group by fair play after receiving only 2 yellow cards compared to the 3 Belgium have.

Adnan Januzaj celebrates after scoring the only goal of Belgium's 1-0 win over England on Thursday.

The Three Lions started off their World Cup campaign in quite a nervy fashion as captain Harry Kane scored twice in the 11th minute and 1st minute of injury time to help defeat Tunisia 2-1.

The victor of Group G would face Japan in the round-of-16, an undaunting task; whereas the runner-up would get a trickier Colombia. They sit 16th in the Federation Internationale de Football Association world rankings, just four places below England, and are a clear threat to their progress, but Southgate insists there was no easy option ahead of his team. "We came into the game wanting to win it, obviously we never won it, but we are still in the round of 16 and something to look forward to".

As expected, England will make some changes without affecting the spine of the side.

He said: "In a World Cup you're going to come up against the best teams in the world".

Eden Hazard as impressed for the Red Devils at the tournament so far. 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.

'We know that depending on which players we pick in certain positions, we just have a different profile of threat.

Marcus Rashford missed a chance to equalise for England against Belgium.

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