Belgium vs England Preview: Who will top Group G?

Belgium vs England Preview: Who will top Group G?

As Group G reaches its climax, England and Belgium have already secured their progression out of their group, but it's all still to play for as they battle for top spot.

Tom Simmonds

England and Belgium have already done the bare minimum expected of them as they have already ensured the will get out of Group G and into the World Cup knock-out stages.

Despite this, there's still a lot to be played for as the two teams battle for top spot in a deciding final game.  

Both teams have looked impressive so far in the competition and will be wanting to keep their run of good form going towards the latter stages of this World Cup. 

Is top spot actually worth it?

A win for either side will secure them the number one spot in the group.

England and Belgium are matched perfectly on both points, goal difference and goals scored. Therefore if the two sides play out a draw, it will be decided by the team's fair play record, with England slightly ahead of Belgium before kick off. 

Whoever tops the group will face whoever tops Group H, which will be decided hours before England and Belgium kick off. It does give the successful team a possibly harder route to the final as they could face Brazil in the quarter-finals and there's a possibility they will go on to face France or Spain in the semi-finals. 

Finishing second in the group appears easier.

The losing side will face either Japan or Senegal, they can then go on to face Mexico in the quarters before facing either Portugal or Croatia in the semi-finals.

It's very unlikely either side will approach the game looking for second place, however, as carrying momentum through the tournament can be key to a successful campaign. 

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Last time out

Belgium were very impressive last time out against Tunisia. They ran out comfortable 5-2 winners at the Otkrytie Arena.

Premier League stars Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku led the scoring for Belgium with the pair of them bagging a brace each, whilst Michy Batshuayi rounded out the scoring in the dying minutes. 

England were equally impressive in their game at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium.

The Three Lions were led by their captain and in-form number nine, Harry Kane, who bagged his first World Cup hat-trick on the way to a 6-1 victory over Panama.

Centre-back, John Stones, scored a rare brace, whilst Jesse Lingard scored the pick of the goals with a curled effort from the edge of the box. 

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Team News

Before the game, Gareth Southgate, wouldn't be drawn on how many changes we will be making heading into this game. Although he did confirm that Eric Dier would be making his first start of the tournament. 

Kyle Walker and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are both on bookings and may not be risked, whilst Kane may be rested in order to preserve him for the later rounds. 

Belgium manager, Roberto Martinez, suggested that he would be making up to nine changes for the England game.

He avoided naming specific players, however, Lukaku and Hazard may not be risked after they picked up knocks against Tunisia. 

The former Everton boss also has three key players - Thomas Meunier, Jan Vertonghen and Kevin De Bruyne - all one yellow card away from a suspension. The trio are almost set to watch this meeting from the sidelines. 


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