Why England and Belgium may not want to win Group G

England boss Gareth Southgate

With the benefit of being the last teams to play in the group stage, both teams will have full knowledge of the knockout bracket by the time they kickoff at 6am - which may lead to the odd situation of both teams attempting to lose the match.

Supporters are expected to turn out in greater numbers for the game in the Russian city of Kaliningrad following impressive wins over Tunisia and Panama. Will history repeat itself in Russian Federation, or will belief overstretch into complacency and lead to another England disaster in a major tournament?

"We've got loads of friends who were umming and ahhing whether to come", he said.

Homes, pubs and big screen areas across England are expected to be packed on Thursday evening, while Downing Street has confirmed it will fly a St George's flag during the match.

England and Belgium would both be favored to beat any of those teams, and while you can't overlook any opponent at the World Cup (just ask Germany), the current World Cup bracket may not favor the top team in Group G.

If this game ends in a draw then Belgium and England will finish with identical group stage records, so the group winners will be determined by fair play points (England has a one yellow card advantage before kick off) or if that's level then it will be a random draw.

The first half of England v Belgium was about as bad as World Cup football has ever been.




The Three Lions now hold a slight advantage in Group G over their opponents, owing to a better disciplinary record, though many had talked of England looking to lose to Belgium in order to finish second and have a more favourable path to the final on paper.

Do you keep a winning team together to maintain momentum?

However, he said at his pre-match press conference: "We have not won a knockout game at the World Cup since 2006, so why we would start plotting which would be a better venue for our semi-final would be beyond me".

The World Cup match between England and Panama will be broadcast live on Fox.

"We want to perform well but I think the priority is not to win", he said.

The hosts followed that win up with a qualification-sealing 3-1 win versus Mohamed Salah's Egypt in a game in which many fancied the Liverpool man to single handedly destroy Russia's equally ageing and inexperienced backline. "That would mean we top the group and we would go into whatever game we go into moving forward".

With first place up for grabs, England and Belgium do battle in Kaliningrad tonight with the potential to face either Colombia or Japan in the round of 16.

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