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England V Belgium 1900 BST ITV1 + Tunisia V Panama ITV4

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https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44636864

 

Quote

England manager Gareth Southgate insists they will go all out to win their final World Cup group game against Belgium in Kaliningrad and top Group G - then worry about future opponents in the knockout phase.

Southgate's side have already secured a last 16 place and Thursday's game will decide who wins the group.

He dismissed theories England may even benefit from finishing below Belgium to map out an easier route in Russia.

He said: "We have not won a knockout game at the World Cup since 2006, so why we would start plotting which would be a better venue for our semi-final would be beyond me."

Southgate is expected to make changes with a place in the knockout stage assured, as will his Belgium counterpart Roberto Martinez.

He added: "We think that we need to keep winning football matches and we want to breed a mentality that everybody in our squad consistently wants to win.

"We have no idea who, when or where we will play in the next round. We are pleased we are there in that next round but we are building a team that everybody at home can see has a passion to play for England and are improving and I think they will see that on Thursday."

If England draw, the game will be decided on both sides' respective disciplinary records - Southgate's side have two yellow cards to Belgium's three - and if they are level, lots will be drawn.

Southgate also believes his emerging England side needs to put a marker down against the top sides, starting with Belgium who are ranked third in the Fifa rankings.

England, who are 12th, have not beaten a team ranked higher than them at a World Cup since third-ranked Argentina were beaten in Sapporo in the 2002 World Cup.

Southgate said: "We are really pleased with the way we are playing but we are still a team that has a lot of improvement.

"We are going to face tough challenges in our next few games. We can't consider ourselves a top team until we start beating those top teams. We have had good performances - drawing against Brazil and Germany in friendlies and our last defeat was away to France last June.

"We are really pleased we had these matches. We need to test ourselves against the best but we are a team that has a lot of hunger to keep improving and we are playing with a lot of confidence, which is very important."

Southgate reflected on World Cup holders' Germany's surprise exit at the group stage following their loss to South Korea as an example of the folly of looking ahead to potential future routes deeper into the competition instead of taking care of immediate priorities.

"You just can't take anything for granted," he said. "The margins are so fine within the matches. We were watching Argentina play Nigeria and then Portugal and Spain the night before and one decision at one end of the pitch and another decision within two minutes and the situation in the group changed completely.

"This is what is brilliant about tournaments. You don't know what will happen. Everyone was saying we had seen great matches but all the top teams would get through - now Germany are out and they haven't.

"This is what attracts everyone to World Cups and European Championships. The thrill to be part of it is fantastic."

Southgate is expected to make changes, with Eric Dier making his first start of the tournament and both Trent Alexander-Arnold and Danny Rose in line to replace Kieran Trippier and Ashley Young.

Raheem Sterling is also likely to be rested, giving either Leicester City's Jamie Vardy or Manchester United's Marcus Rashford the chance to make an impression.

Gary Cahill could make his first appearance in Russia and captain Harry Kane, the World Cup's current top scorer with five goals, is likely to start.

Southgate refused to be drawn on Kane, saying: "I never given the opposition any help with what our team may be."

He added: "I think the intensity of the game will be good. The players who come in when we make changes have a high level of motivation. They have a brilliant opportunity to play in a World Cup.

"They want to show what they can do because one of the key things for me is that everybody is ready to come in for this game and the games beyond that. It's the great chance for the guys to get match minutes and sharpness against quality opposition. I think the level of the game will be high."

 

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no no no no no no no no no no, where's the creative spirit? have you lost your head?

 

IT'S COMING HOME

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Lukaku is definitely out, I think we all kind of expected changes anyway but I never really believe managers talking about huge changes before we had even played our game.

I definitely think Belgium are being a bit too clever, Martinez really wants 2nd and that 'easier part of the draw'. I prefer to not play Colombia out of the potentials in the last 16 but we have seen how we are playing anyone in knockout football so just want to get to the 1/4s and take it from there.

I think if they play a weakened side and we don't rotate as much, I want to win, keep winning, get those co-efficient points and if we play Brazil or whoever then so be it, there's no guarantees on anything, win the game in front of you.

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Posted (edited)

Win. Don't worry about the permutations. 

We need to ensure we don't take passage to the QFs for granted. But we could slip up against the likes of Sweden and Switzerland as much as we could pull a victory out the bag against Brazil. I think the way King Gareth sets up will enable us to counter proper attacking teams, rather than us dominating against weaker teams and us looking vulnerable on the break. 

You have to win games. You have to beat the best at some point. 

Anyway, how do you choose to lose?!

I really don't think England have a weaker team either, Kane exlcluded, in all positions it's very much like for like so rotating isn't a big deal, but recovery is. 

Edited by Mark H

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Regarding my point on defence. I honestly think we're fine defending, but our 'scramble' defence when a team breaks after a period of England possesion/attack is pretty poor. If we have to keep shape to defend I think we can do it pretty well. Two 0-0 draws in the autumn vs Germany and Brazil when we started trialing this system point to as much.

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It does look like Belgium would definitely prefer 2nd. Probably due to the fact that won't have to travel far for any of the knockout games from their base in Moscow.

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Soooooo.........this could be a game where either both want to lose or both want to win?

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Posted (edited)

Feel this match is not going to be as interesting as most people hoped for. I also think it is tricky to line up a lot of reserves or even being okay with losing the match. During tournaments like this it's also about keeping the momentum going. Besides that, you should be able to beat everyone if you want to win the tournament. And nowadays in football it's sometimes better to play against a better side than a weaker side who only prefers to defend and has nothing to lose. 

Edited by Cedrik

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It's really not a bad 'back up' Belgium team at all tbf.

Defence looks good.

I think Belgium fancy 2nd place more than we do and we have the edge by being top so I think both set out to win but pace of the game will slow as it gets later is no one is leading.

Martinez announced changes before our Panama game, seems like he's not bothered about 1st or 2nd.

I'd rather win, go into the next game having won and try to win again. I don't think we can afford to mess about and try to be clever, I honestly doubt the team or Southgate are thinking about 1/4 finals seriously without getting past the last 16 yet

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How does Nacer Chadli still get in the Belgium squad?

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2 hours ago, Gazza D said:

It does look like Belgium would definitely prefer 2nd. Probably due to the fact that won't have to travel far for any of the knockout games from their base in Moscow.

FM wonderkids overload.

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Belgium to go for the early Red card with Fellani elbowing someone 

Januzaj off shortly after for his 7th dive 

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This could be a really bizarre game tonight, a game that no one will want to win.
Both sides will have to try though, could be a right shambolic affair.
 

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Hope it doesn't end up an embarrassing affair, rather we (Belgium) take top than lose on purpose. Imagine losing 3-0 or something and then going out to a "lesser" side, it'd be awful. 

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Game to finish 17-16 with 33 own goals

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2 hours ago, Razzler said:

It's really not a bad 'back up' Belgium team at all tbf.

Defence looks good.

It’s got Thomas Vermaelen in it. :D

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If Japan win their group this afternoon it would be irresistibly tempting to lose this game. 

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Posted (edited)

As if we're going to lose a game against a team who plays Januzaj :D:D:D

 

This is going to be such an odd game.  The result doesn't really matter, it's not a friendly either so it's all a bit weird. 

I'll be cheering the usual England goals, but I think i'll also be cheering Belgium's goals. 

odd game. 

Edited by Bliss Seeker

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You can just see it, Fellani doing a forearm smash on someone in the box, Kane then blasting the penalty over, Belgium players furiously complaining to the ref that he missed on purpose.
93rd minute still 0-0 and Kompany has had enough, he smashing it into his own net, final whistle goes, England players surround the ref to complain and Belgium run around celebrating, 1-0 to England!

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Don't think I've ever seen a match before where both teams want to lose. Kinda curious but I think I'll pass and take today to do some stuff because I have the feeling it's gonna be a very very dull 0-0 with neither team trying anything. :D 

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Jesus wept. People saying it would be better to finish 2nd, so we can avoid Colombia/Senegal and also Brazil.

People were delighted we avoided Portugal and landed Iceland in the last 16 only 2 years ago....

 

Just go for the win tonight. Full strength side. Swap Cahill in for Walker and Rose in for Young. Take Kane and Lingard/Alli off at 60-ish minutes.

 

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Now Guardian are saying Vardy may lead the line with Kane rested.

Basically, I'm just waiting for the line ups to see what's what

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I think he will rotate more or less everyone.

Southgate that is. Will basically be a reserve XI.

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7 minutes ago, Wiggins' Young Boys said:

Vardy, Rose, Cahill and Dier in supposedly.

I'd be fine with that, assume Cahill is in for Walker 

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1 minute ago, Coulthard's Jaw said:

Southgate going all out for 2nd.

Everyone knows Vardy is the big game player 

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If anyone but Colombia (who for me are the only Group H team to post a genuine threat to England) wins the group this afternoon then England have to do everything in their power to lose this game. Nothing that can be construed as bringing the game into disrepute, but certainly everything in their power / within the rules.

I've been having quite a lively debate with some of my friends this afternoon who disagree with me, main argument being that beating a quality team like Belgium would give momentum, and we might beat Brazil anyway.

The best way I can put it is using an example familiar to me. I play a lot of poker and I'm a good, winning poker player and have been for many years. The fundamental method to win at poker is to ensure that every decision you make tips the odds as much in your favour as is possible, and if you continue to do this, you will be a long term winning poker player. You might lose in the short term, and that's just the way it goes sometimes, but in the long term you will always win if you are doing everything in your power to give yourself the best chance of winning each short term scenario. And I do.

England may have a very similar scenario tonight. There is an opportunity to tip the odds in their favour in this World Cup. It might lead to them losing to Japan/Switzerland/Sweden and looking like fools, and if it does that's just short-term variance - in the long term by losing to Belgium they will have correctly tipped the odds in their favour and given themselves the best chance of success, and that in my opinion is what they should do.

Yes, we might beat Brazil if we play them. To be honest I think we can give them a really good game, but in my opinion a win against Brazil is probably about a 40% shot, whereas a win against Sweden/Switzerland is probably more like a 60% shot. Where there is a choice, and there might just be a choice, you have to go with the one that gives you the best chance of success.

The only other thing to consider is the "momentum" argument. I think that has no weight for tonight's game. Belgium will not be fielding a strong team, they will not even be pressing England anywhere as much as they would in a normal game - they will likewise not be bothered to lose the game. There is no momentum gained from winning this fixture as we will be (again) playing a weak team. The only result is placement in a half of the draw that decreases our odds of progressing further than the quarter finals.

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1 minute ago, pearcey_90 said:

That’s Zinchenko :D

ah right, have no sound was just reading subtitles

Still :D 

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1 hour ago, noikeee said:

Don't think I've ever seen a match before where both teams want to lose. Kinda curious but I think I'll pass and take today to do some stuff because I have the feeling it's gonna be a very very dull 0-0 with neither team trying anything. :D 

Could be missing out on something amazing

 

1 hour ago, Barry Cartman said:

All those people who didn't want Joe Hart in the squad, its really going to cost us now 

 

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Rashford and Vardy providing pace, and if they can run into the channels where the wing-backs have vacated and draw there more pedestrian centre halves out we could create some decent chances. Extra man in midfield means one (RLC) can bomb forward a little more too on the counter...

Go for the win! 

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Glad Rose is in. He gives us balance on the left. No point having a left back who keeps cutting in on his right food slowing down momentum

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I also don't think England want to lose. That's madness. What mentality does that say we have. Also shows massive arrogance. I presume Belgium are the same. 

The reason its a massive discussion is that we have nothing else to talk about before the game, because there is no pressure, so lets go slightly overboard with the 'PERMUTATIONS' discussion

 

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1 hour ago, Anthrax Dave said:

Jesus wept. People saying it would be better to finish 2nd, so we can avoid Colombia/Senegal and also Brazil.

People were delighted we avoided Portugal and landed Iceland in the last 16 only 2 years ago....

 

Just go for the win tonight. Full strength side. Swap Cahill in for Walker and Rose in for Young. Take Kane and Lingard/Alli off at 60-ish minutes.

 

Agreed. Play to win and if we lose then fine. Knowing England, if we play to lose we’ll probably find a way of messing that up (dodgy back pass from Vermaelen in the last minute, Courtois slips on a stray vuvuzela from the crowd, Harry Kane claims it etc etc).

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Does anyone actually think we should lose? Apart from all the clickbait journalism, does anyone actually think we should lose? MADNESS?!

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5 minutes ago, Mark H said:

Does anyone actually think we should lose? Apart from all the clickbait journalism, does anyone actually think we should lose? MADNESS?!

If Colombia don't win their group then I think we should lose. See my previous post on this thread for my explanation.

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I don't think we should "lose" but I dont think we should be actively playing to win certainly.

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1 minute ago, Wigmore said:

If Colombia don't win their group then I think we should lose. See my previous post on this thread for my explanation.

Ok, I actually like your explanation, and I can only counter it with the simple fact that I don't believe you should try to lose a game of football. Columbia are definitely the team I fear the most but if we can't beat them then we aren't good enough to win it. I think we are more than capable of beating Columbia, more so that a Germany, Spain or Brazil but you play whoever you play, and I wouldn't want to try and manipulate that. 

 

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We don't have to lose the game to finish second, think that has been forgotten about in here. 

0-0 and a couple of bookings from us and boom, 2nd place. 

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1 minute ago, craigcwwe said:

We don't have to lose the game to finish second, think that has been forgotten about in here. 

0-0 and a couple of bookings from us and boom, 2nd place. 

Players suspected of deliberately getting booked will be suspended by FIFA

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1 minute ago, themadsheep2001 said:

Players suspected of deliberately getting booked will be suspended by FIFA

Nick Pope can take one for the team.

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1 minute ago, themadsheep2001 said:

Players suspected of deliberately getting booked will be suspended by FIFA

Yeah I saw that but there's bound to be a booking or two in the game and they have to prove it was deliberate. Are they just going to assume any yellows in the game were pre-planned? 

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