England v Belgium in weird match

29 June, 2018, 16:37 | Author: Brenda Erickson
  • ENGLAND WAGS

"Yeah I'm very pleased with that, to score a great goal against a great opponent", Januzaj said in the game's post-match press conference. "But in the past in England I had a lot of criticism and now I wanted to show the people that I am here, so you know I am very happy with that".

There has even been some talk that England might have an easier route at the World Cup if they lose in Kaliningrad.

Neither England nor Belgium would ever publicly admit to trying to lose but the prize for doing so was obvious: avoid big guns Brazil, Argentina, France and Portugal until the final.

In the other match in Group G, Tunisia notched their first win at a World Cup for 40 years, beating debutants Panama 2-1 to leave Russian Federation on a high. We want to perform well but the priority is not to win.

It puts a first World Cup semi-final since 1990 within genuine reach.

What looked like being one of the ties of the group stage instead became a rather unusual encounter given the talk about the most favourable knockout route, including suggestions that finishing runners-up may be preferable.

Having booked their place in the round of sixteen in style with a record-breaking 6-1 win over Panama, England is likely to make some changes ahead of their game against Belgium. Players need to have energy in the tank to win a World Cup, and Southgate is banking on his squad being fitter and fresher after being rested in Kaliningrad.

There was a odd feeling around the game as both teams were already assured of progress to the last 16, with talk about the best path to the final compounded by a combined 17 changes.

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It probably didn't sit well with Belgium's Michy Batshuayi either seen as we watched him celebrate his team's goal by kicking the ball causing it toricochet right back into his face.

The Red Devils are unbeaten in their previous 11 World Cup Group matches. The danger was always that making such wholesale changes, while potentially beneficial in one sense, would kill the momentum built up in the first two games. "We want to win".

Russia's no-show against Uruguay, the first decent side it faced, made clear it wasn't unexpected world beaters.

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

With 15 minutes remaining, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez chose to introduce Vincent Kompany for Thomas Vermaelen, while England threw on Danny Welbeck as they pushed for an equaliser.

Not only that, the Colombians have pedigree after a run to the quarterfinal stage at the 2014 World Cup on the back of some stunning performances from their star man James Rodriguez.

They will get an extra day to prepare because, if they had won the group, they would have gone to Rostov to face Japan on Monday. Spain is better still, so expect the host's Cup challenge to come to an end.

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