Belgium beats England to top spot with Januzaj strike

Ruben Holloway
July 1, 2018

Going into the game as Group G leaders, England fell behind Belgium in the pecking order when Adnan Januzaj struck early in the second half.

Southgate is hoping to lead England to their first knockout win since 2006 in Moscow, where he believes his side will rise to the "fantastic challenge" posed by Colombia and reach the quarter-finals.

"We need to look at ourselves, we are a stronger group than we were before the game".

"He said: 'Look, I know everyone says I want the Golden Boot".

By winning the match and thus the group, Belgium moves to the "side of death" for the knockout round, where four of the top five teams in the world according to Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings - Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, and Argentina - will all compete for one spot in the final.

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It was so farcical at one point that Belgium's fans inside the Kaliningrad Stadium were cheering every time referee Damir Skomina brandished a yellow card to one of their players.

The Three Lions couldn't turn the game around, and now face a tricky test against Colombia in the last 16, while Belgium have a comfortable-looking tie against Japan.

England ended the Belgium game without any injury concerns and so will have a fully-fit squad to unleash in the knockout stages.

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.

"All those calculations weren't something for us but for the press".

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England will avoid Neymar and Brazil until the final. "But what that means for the next round, we don't really know", said Southgate.

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Dele Alli could also make a return to action after missing the Panama match with a slight thigh strain, but with little pressure to secure a result against Belgium, he may be limited to an appearance off the bench.

There were World Cup debuts for a host of England players including 19-year-old Trent Alexander-Arnold, the likes of Harry Kane, Jesse Lingard and Jordan Henderson all rested by Southgate, who justified not bringing Kane on by saying "If we played Harry Kane for 50 minutes tonight and he takes a whack, we would have been foolish", post-match.

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