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

Posted June 28, 2018

All of the pre-tournament favourites have stuttered and suffered in some way so far in this tournament.

But the right hand side is favourable to say the least, with Spain and Croatia the two stand out teams.

Southgate, though, was adamant nothing other than three points against Belgium has been discussed, insisting his side are prepared for the prospect of facing more hard opponents, having beaten Panama and Tunisia so far in Russian Federation.

England boss Southgate wants to allow forward Sterling to recharge his batteries to help him get back to his best form for the World Cup knockout phase starting early next week.

"You just can't take anything for granted".

"It's huge, no matter what the situation is within the group because everyone is watching".

Southgate believes Vardy's ability to hit teams on the counter-attack could be vital for England against better opposition and the Belgium clash gives him the flawless opportunity to prove that. Or shall they go all out and build confidence for the rest of the tournament?

And Will Tomlinson, 34, from Retford, in Nottinghamshire, said he hoped for an English influx as the team progressed through the tournament.

England's XI does not have the same star quality as much-hailed "golden generations" of times gone by, but have a cohesiveness that was often missing from previous Three Lions teams.

"For England to face Brazil in the last eight, it'll be tough".

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England and Belgium will meet in a World Cup match that neither team wants to win.

Chelsea legend and 106-time England worldwide Frank Lampard was not afraid to put his heart on his sleeve to go with the three lions on his shirt.

"My inherent nature is that I like people to feel included, and be part of what we're doing. There are players who have been in very demanding games so its very important for us to protect and give every player the best opportunity to be in the best condition in the knockout games".

"Anyone who gets the chance to play will do the best they can to make the manager make a hard decision, I'm sure he's made a lot of hard decisions so far", he said.

"At the moment we are qualified and I think that was the priority that we were chasing for", he said.

Belgium, managed by Roberto Martinez, and England are expected to rest players as they are both already through to the last 16. Eric Dier will be handed his first start of the tournament against Belgium, but is not thinking about the possibility of lifting the trophy on June 15.

He said: "We have not won a knockout game since 2006".

Speaking before the game, manager Southgate said he wanted to "breed a mentality that everybody in our squad wants to constantly win".

"It will be a match with teams and players that know each other amazingly well", Mourinho continued.

"At the moment he is still in the recovery phase and had a really hard knock against Tunisia".