England and Belgium to ring changes in final Group G game

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Belgium defeated England, 1-0, to win Group G on the final day of the group stage at the 2018 World Cup.

The runners-up in Group G, however, will meet Sweden or Switzerland in the quarters if they defeat Colombia in Moscow on July 2. With defending champions Germany out, England's half features only Spain among past winners. "I think we've done everything we can as a group to prepare ourselves".

"I don't think you can plan the ideal scenario", the Spaniard said, noting the travails of Germany and other top teams so far. "We saw that in the Euros two years ago".

Skomina was also in charge of Belgium's Euro 2016 quarter-final loss to Wales when he dished out a total of six yellow cards.


The semi-final would then likely see England up against Croatia or Spain whilst Belgium, after beating Brazil, would potentially have to play Argentina or France.

Martinez has hailed the pleasure his whole squad have been taking on the pitch and has worked to build a team spirit whereas clashes of egos bedevilled the Belgians under his predecessor Marc Wilmots at the last World Cup and at Euro 2016.

"On the pitch, we were just thinking of having fun", said 21-year-old attacking midfielder Youri Tielemans, who forced England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford into an excellent save with a long-range effort in the first half. "Well played lads!", the Sun newspaper declared as on its front page.

England would get the odd chance to equalise, the best going to Marcus Rashford as he broke on goal from a Jamie Vardy pass, curling wide of the post as he looked to beat Thibaut Courtois.


Belgium, too, have made significant changes with Premier League stalwarts Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku all dropped to the bench.

"We've at times had a squad with real top players and at times we've had a squad with not such outstanding players who've been in those knockout situations. But what that means for the next round, we don't really know", said Southgate. "The outcome of this throw of the dice will be known on Tuesday".

With a place in the World Cup's last 16 already assured after wins over Tunisia and Panama, Southgate made eight changes for the Group G decider, with five-goal captain Harry Kane among those taken out of the starting line-up.

The flags of St George were flying all around on Thursday evening but that didn't help Gareth Southgate's men as they lost 1-0 to Belgium but it isn't all bad news as the draw now proves.


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