Thursday, 13 December, 2018

Why England should lose to Belgium and land dream World Cup draw

Martinez suggested he could change his entire outfield side for clash with England Martinez suggested he could change his entire outfield side for clash with England
Rita Gibson | 28 June, 2018, 11:25

Both countries won their first two matches in Group G and have already qualified for the next stage so have the luxury to consider the round of 16 opponents and even beyond.

It remains to be seen if Southgate will make a number of changes to his side for the game against Belgium in Kaliningrad or if he will stick to the strongest XI possible.

Dele Allí has returned to training and should start, but Kieran Trippier is a doubt after picking up a knock against Panama while Kyle Walker is on a yellow card and may not be risked.

Romelu Lukaku and Harry Kane have been excellent.

Group G as it standsWhat if England win?

Colombia on the other hand will provide a classic South American challenge with a fast, technically superb front line of James, Falcao and Cuadrado, who will be a real test for the slower England backline on counterattacks.

This half of the draw could see England line up against four of the top seven sides in the world according to the latest Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings - and the Three Lions have lost to Brazil, Uruguay, Portugal, France and Argentina (England also beat Argentina in 2002) at major tournaments in the last 20 years.

Ben Simmons is named NBA Rookie of the Year
The Jazz guard kept it up on Monday, arriving in a van for the ceremony with "ROOKIE?" on the side. Simmons being considered a rookie this year had been a point of contention with Mitchell.

"I could see that the players were hungry enough and humble enough to be ready to take on board some of the ideas we were going to try to implement, so I thought it was worth having a go with them and that's probably the biggest thing I am pleased with".

Contrastingly, if they finish as runners-up, England would face either Sweden or Switzerland in the quarter-finals, and then one of Spain, Russia, Croatia or Denmark in the semi-finals.

All these permutations set the intriguing scene for Friday morning's match with the two teams on six points each, eight goals for and two goals against.

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. If both teams are level on cards, it comes down to drawing lots.

The players' performance will also be a factor in who wins the golden ball (the tournament's best player). And both players will be keen to increase their tally tomorrow.

So we may be watching a match with 21 players reluctant to win and one desperate to score.

England supporters were in party mood in Kaliningrad as they watched Germany crash out of the World Cup at the group stages.

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