England vs Belgium - Preview - World Cup 2018

England vs Belgium - Preview - World Cup 2018

Group G heavyweights, England and Belgium, lock horns on Thursday night, with qualification already in the bag. There is, however, still a top place finish to fight for, with the European giants level on six points, scoring and conceding the same amount of goals. The Three Lions are at the top of the standings because of their disciplinary record, with Belgium shown one yellow card more than their opponents.

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FIFA World Cup
England vs Belgium  
Group G
Thursday 28 June  
Kaliningrad Stadium     
20:00

To Win
England 7/4
Draw 43/20
Belgium 16/10

England

England booked their place in the knockout stages with a rampant 6-1 win over Panama. Before that, they showed great fight in their World Cup opener to edge past Tunisia, scoring deep into stoppage time to win the game 2-1.

Harry Kane came to the Three Lions’ rescue in that game as he netted a brace when his country needed him most. The English captain’s form continued against Panama when he moved on top of the goalscoring charts, netting a somewhat lucky hat-trick against the North Americans.

It seems nothing and nobody can stop Kane at the moment, and a very worrying statistic for Belgium would be that the Tottenham forward has scored in every match that he has captained England.

His link-up play with Jesse Lingard was key in both games, and with Dele Alli expected to return to the side, the trio will be looking to cause havoc for the Belgian defenders.

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Belgium

Belgium come up against familiar opposition when they take on England in their final group match of their World Cup campaign. Many of the Red Devils’ star players ply their trade in England’s top flight, and are teammates to some players, while for the rest, the feud continues.

Like England, Belgium were rampant in their last match, winning by three goals once again. There seems to be a pattern growing here, and the scary part is, I don’t think we have seen the best from this Belgian side in the tournament just yet.

Roberto Martinez did hint at ringing the changes for the final group game, but they’re still blessed with a plethora of talent in their squad, while Romelu Lukaku also deserves a special mention, showing signs that he is learning what the great Thierry Henry is teaching him at training.

Probable line-ups:
England: 3-4-2-1
Pickford; Maguire, Stones, Walker; Young, Henderson, Lingard, Rose; Alli, Sterling, Kane.

Belgium: 3-4-2-1
Courtois; Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen; Meunier, Fellaini, Dembele, Carrasco; Tielemans, Hazard; Lukaku.

Prediction: Draw (43/20)
This will be a tight encounter, but also a dead rubber, with both teams already through to the next round. It’s not the time to prove your World Cup winning credentials, instead, it should be a precautionary phase. Changes could be expected in both lineups, with the sides tipped to share the spoils. It would be nice to see Kane and Lukaku on the scoresheet, but it’s not worth putting money on right now at this stage of the competition.

Written by Jesse Nagel

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