Win over England not priority, says Belgium coach

Tyler Owen
June 28, 2018

When the World Cup draw was first released, the final game of Group G between England and Belgium looked like a tantalising prospect - two European superpowers facing off in a match that would likely decide the group winners.

Their battle in Kaliningrad follows the dramatic exit of Joachim Loew´s 2014 winners, who finished rock bottom of their group after a 2-0 defeat to South Korea, the final humiliation after a campaign that never caught fire.

Wednesday was the two-year anniversary of the Euro 2016 humiliation against Iceland - a time when Southgate could never have imagined leading his country into this World Cup.

Instead, Sweden and Mexico advanced to the last 16.

"The majority of Belgian players, they play in England".

This could create a insane scenario with both teams wanting to avoid success, or putting in a few nasty tackles to lose the Fair Play ratings.

Football can also be an individual sport, and one of the most prestigious individual honours in world football is the World Cup golden boot (the player with the most goals at the end of the tournament).

Prince William pays tribute to Kate on Jordan visit
She is buried in Jerusalem, and William will visit her grave on Thursday. The Palestinians claim east Jerusalem as their future capital.

England manager Gareth Southgate once again reiterated his desire to win the game and continue a fine run of form but at his own pre-match news conference, Martinez stated three points were only part of the equation. The teams enter the game tied for first place, having won an equal number of points (six), scored the same amount of goals (eight) and conceded two apiece.

"It would have been very different if Harry Kane had not scored in the last minute against Tunisia [England's opening 2-1 win] - then Platt's goal might have been a bit more of a memory for everyone".

But in Belgium they face the world´s third-ranked side, and a squad loaded with world-class talent such as Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne. "At that point it was one or the other", the ex-Wigan Athletic and Everton manager added. "I don't think he will be training today, and we will make a final assessment tonight". Only Poland have been eliminated already, while Japan, Senegal and Colombia could all book their place in the last 16 on Thursday afternoon. If you do not play to win, you are cheating your opponents, deceiving those who are watching, and also fooling yourself.

Whoever finishes runners up of Group G will encounter Brazil or Mexico in the quarter finals, while the victor will face Sweden or Switzerland.

But Southgate refused to entertain such a thought.

"We came here for more, so it wouldn´t be a good result for us not to reach the second round", Pekerman said.

Friday is a rest day in Russian Federation.

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