Gareth Southgate: Colombia clash is England's biggest in a decade

Tyler Owen
June 30, 2018

"If we don't get to the last four I'd be shocked".

"I'm a little surprised because everybody seems to be happy in England, thinking they are now on the right side of the World Cup draw because they've avoided the half with Brazil", said the Swede.

In a weird game, England made eight changes and Belgium nine as two B-teams contested first place in Group G, knowing that topping the group placed the victor in a far tougher half of the draw.

The Three Lions finished second in Group G, beating Tunisia and Panama, but losing to Belgium, and many have speculated that their finish actually leaves them with an easier route through the tournament.

"The players who've played tonight have given absolutely everything and never stopped".

"But more often than not we have not been able to win those matches in normal time or in extra time".

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"It's one of the reasons why we've done what we did (against Belgium), to give ourselves the best possible opportunity of doing that".

Nonetheless, the 70-year-old Eriksson, who took England to World Cup quarterfinals in 2002 and 2006, believes his former side will outscore Colombia in Moscow on Tuesday, particularly if they play Marcus Rashford instead of Raheem Sterling alongside five-goal Harry Kane up front. It looked like Colombia had 30,000 or 40,000 fans in the stadium for their last game.

Southgate wanted to rest his key players - Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard and Dele Alli did not start either - and also keep the wider squad engaged in the tournament by giving them game time. I think Belgium will be world champion'.

Within the confines of the dressing room, Southgate told his squad that bouncing back from disappointments is the mark of the best teams in the world and called on his team to show the same resilience as he addressed his squad in the moments after the final whistle.

"Don't give Colombia chances because they have players like Juan Cuadrado that can beat players one-on-one. It would not be hard to see England drawing and that game going to penalties".

Japan are top and need just a point ($3.3) against already eliminated Poland to make sure they are the only Asian side to have a shot at glory.

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