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World Cup Preview: Belgium vs. England Preview

As we approach the end of the group stage of the 2018 World Cup, the Group G title will be up for grabs when England faces Belgium in their final group game.

With both teams tied with six points, the winner will go on to face the runners-up in Group H, while the loser faces the winners of Group H, which makes this a very interesting matchup for both sides.

World Cup 2018 – Belgium vs. England

  • Date: June 28, 2018
  • Betting Odds: England +182 vs Belgium +194 – Draw +208

Belgium and England have faced each other six times. England won two of the six contests and the other four ended in draws.

They faced each other in the 1954 and 1990 World Cups, with both games ending in draws. They also met once in the 1980 European Championship, also ending in a draw. England has won the last two contests, which were both friendlies.

England Analysis

England looked shaky in their first World Cup match against Tunisia and needed a late goal from Harry Kane to get the 2-1 win.

This changed in the second game as England was a very different team, scoring six goals in a 6-1 drubbing of Panama. Kane once again was the key to the win, recording his first hat-trick in the World Cup, giving him five goals in the tournament.

In their matchup against Belgium, the Three Lions will once again look to Kane for their offense, but with qualification for the next round already secured, the team might rest some key players or play them in limited minutes to avoid injuries or suspension due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

However, England also needs to keep their momentum so regardless of who they face if they do win the group they might go to this game at full force. As it stands, Harry Kane is on a beeline to snatch the Golden Boot so there’s somewhat a chance he’ll play against Belgium’s “Golden Generation.”  

The fact that the runners-up in the group will likely face Japan in the Round of 16, while the winner of the group might have to contend with Colombia, makes this a very intriguing matchup.

Defensively, England was dubious in the first game but played much better against Panama. However, the fact neither team is considered an offensive powerhouse makes it difficult to assess just how good England on defense.

Their match against Belgium will be their first real test in the World Cup to keep their opponents at bay and it will be interesting to see how they hold up against Belgium’s offense.

While England is expected to make a few changes to the starting line-up, they won’t alter the core of the team.

Eric Dier could replace Jordan Henderson to get some minutes as warm up before he’s needed in the later rounds, while Danny Rose and Marcus Rashford will probably get the chance to give Southgate problems when it comes to the round of 16. Dele Alli is expected to return in place of Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Belgium Analysis

Belgium has looked a little more impressive than England, winning their first two games rather easily.

Belgium got a convincing 3-0 result against Panama in their first match of the tournament and looked equally impressive in their second match, a 5-2 win over Tunisia, a team England needed a last-minute goal to beat in their opener.

Belgium has scored eight goals so far but won both games with ease thanks to the brilliance of Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, who has scored four goals in the tournament. Lukaku has scored 23 goals in 20 appearances for Belgium under manager Roberto Martinez.

Offensively, Belgium is tied with Russia and England for the most goals scored, so expect to see more goals in this game.

Defensively, they have only allowed two goals as well. Like England, they haven’t played a real offensive threat yet, which is why this is the most anticipated final group game.

The bad news for Belgian fans is Lukaku might miss the game because of a minor injury they don’t want him to aggravate, but Hazard should be ready to go.

Belgium, as opposed to their opponents, won’t want to settle for anything less than the top spot. Kevin De Bruyne commented about the need to keep momentum and disregarded what that would mean for their passage through the knockout rounds.  

Coach Roberto Martínez gave hints that he’s prepared to make up to ten changes to the starting lineup but that doesn’t mean this will happen. He’ll want to keep his Premier-League-heavy lineup though to give them the best chance of winning the group.

Pick: Both teams have played evenly in their first two games of the tournament, which makes this a hard match to call, but England has the upper hand in their head to head meetings and the fact that Lukaku is expected to miss the match gives England the edge.


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