Januzaj stunner sees Belgium beat England to top spot

29 June, 2018, 14:50 | Author: Kristopher Anderson
  • Beating England not priority for Belgium boss Martinez

Now that England have finished second in their group, they will take on José Pékerman's Colombian side without 2014's Golden Boot victor, James Rodriguez, who limped off against Senegal earlier today.

After an early burst, though, Belgium seemed more adept at picking up yellow cards that would have seen them finish behind England if the game ended in a draw due to a poorer disciplinary record. If that is tied, then the victor will be decided by a coin toss.

Loew, who led his side to glory against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil, refused to be drawn on his future in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday´s result.

Despite a huge scare for Lionel Messi's Argentina, who needed a late goal from Marcos Rojo to edge through to the knockout phase, all of the tournament's other big guns are through to the last 16 in Russian Federation.

Marcus Rashford and substitute Danny Welbeck went closest to an equaliser on a night when Belgium's second ever win in this fixture left England plotting their route to Moscow.

Southgate's selection gave some of England's under-utilised squad the opportunity to make him sit up and take notice for the knockout stages. It's been a unusual end to an absorbing World Cup group stage. We're facing Japan, we've got to be ready for it'.

"So why we are starting to plot which would be a better venue for our semi-final is beyond me, really". So did Romelu Lukaku, who has scored four for Belgium.

Does he rest Harry Kane, or unleash his captain and the tournament's top scorer?

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But Southgate did concede he would probably make some changes for a clash that neither side needs to win.

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.

"It's obviously disappointing but we have to keep our spirits high in the camp and we have to take positivity into the next game, which is a obviously an important game for the county", he said.

"Now, we need to focus on Japan, England play Colombia, and if you think further than that it's a problem".

England and Belgium in the next round will either face Senegal, Japan or Colombia, who will have sorted out their placings in Group H an hour before England kicks off. "We have 20 outfield players who have played in the World Cup and that's extremely beneficial for the feeling in our camp".

There is, though, something presumptuous about such talk and Colombia, a team with plenty of talent, certainly won't appreciate being considered part of an "easier path" to the quarter-finals.

If Southgate learned lessons from this, it is that he got his original World Cup selection pretty much spot on.

'Maybe we didn't have as many runners in behind tonight and we didn't have the link between the lines quite as well, but lots of good individual moments for all of the players and a lot that we can learn from as well.

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