England vs Belgium
Kaliningrad Stadium/ Kaliningrad
2 PM ET, June 28, 2018, Thursday
Line: England +164 Belgium +184 Draw +205
FREE FIFA World Cup Pick England vs Belgium
Even the most ardent of England fans may have been slightly sceptical about their ability to light up this World Cup, but so far Gareth Southgate’ s side have defied many pre-tournament predictions. Having failed so spectacularly at the past two major tournaments, Southgate’s youthful squad was widely seen more as one for the future, but after two games they find themselves as the joint-highest scorers in the World Cup. They showed no mercy against Panama and were ruthless against them scoring six past them. England and Belgium are safely through to the round of 16 yet this match is of quite importance, the winner of this match will clinch the top spot in the group. As it stands the team who finishes second is likely to be handed a more favourable route through the knockout rounds. But England aren’t in Russia for an easy ride- it’s essential they keep that winning feeling. Suggestions that it would be better for England to lose to Belgium to secure a better draw through the knockout rounds are, quite frankly, totally nonsensical. A negative performance on Thursday would do nothing but provoke a negative reaction and add pressure to a team full of confidence. It would bring into question whether they can do it against the competition’s bigger teams and, more likely than not, start the finger pointing at players who aren’t up to it. The English team will have a number of changes. Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kyle Walker are likely to sit out as they are a match away from suspension. Even in midfield, Ashley Young who is not so young will be rested along with hard working Kieran Trippier with Fabian Delph and Trent Alexander-Arnold to fill in those places. Eric Dier will be the deputy for Jordan Henderson. Marcus Rashford looks destined to start in attack with Harry Kane. Kane is desperate to continue his goal scoring spree and will like to extend his lead for the Golden boot. The playing style of England has been solid yet at times they have been vulnerable to quick counter attacks. England will attempt to win this game and keep the winning momentum going.
Belgium too wouldn’t want to settle for anything less than a top spot. Kevin De Bruyne has spoken about the need to keep momentum, disregarding what that means for their route through the knockout rounds. Belgium are a ferocious side and one of the most capable squads of Russia 2018. Their attacking prowess, midfield masterminds and defensive stability have driven them past Panama and Tunisia in fascinating style. The Belgians have a tough opponent ahead in the shape of England. It will have a lot to do with how Belgium defends and controls the midfield. Roberto Martinez has hinted as many as 11 changes in the team. Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens will be rested. Romelu Lukaku will miss the game due to a minor injury scare. The defence is also to see wholesale changes with Vincent Komapany and Thomas Vermaelen potential starters. The midfield will also be rotated with Mousa Dembele and Fellaini filling in for Axel Witsel and Yannick Carrasco. The strike threat of Belguim remains with Michy Batshuayi starting. Belgium plays a wide-ranging attacking football and a lot depends on their extremely talented stars. With the involvement of these stars restricted to the bench, it will be important to see whether this Belgium team 2.0 can carry the glory of its first team. With exit of Germany and other established heavyweights not performing at their best, Belgium are now seen as genuine runners for the trophy. For this to happen, Belgium has to keep the momentum going and the first big test will be England. Defeating England will give immense amount of confidence and belief to the team. However England aren’t any minnows, they have loads of talent and can make life tough for Belgium. Belgium will need to maintain their defensive solidity against an offensive English side. With even Belgium eyeing a top spot expect drama and entertainment aplenty.
England: Harry Kane. Kane is most likely England’s scorer and despite heavy rotation he looks to keep his place in a bid to extend his goal scoring tally. He isn’t blessed with pace but his instincts in dead ball situations are extremely strong. Kane’s physicality collaborated with his powerful feet can become a nightmare for any defence.
Belgium: Michy Batshuayi . A probable starter in the circumstance, Batshuayi showed he had lost none of his knack for finding the net when he scored Belgium’s final goal in their 5-2 win over Tunisia. Batshuayi is not only acrobatic in his celebrations but also on the pitch, he has skills to destroy any defender’s confidence and blazing pace for support runs.
England: Jesse Lingard. Lingard has impressed in the last game after a sub-par performance in the first tie. Lingard is quick in making those attacking runs and can create chances for forwards. He can control the tempo of attack and will be a player to watch out for.
Belgium: Mousa Dembele. Dembele hasn’t had much chances but this might be the opportunity he has been looking for. He has a chance to impress Martinez and prove he is worthy of starting in the eleven. Dembele controls the rhythm and occasionally is lured to go forward. He can be the provider to Belgium’s attacking unit.
The Young Gun:
England: Trent Alexander-Arnold. Arnold is one of the youngest players at the tournament. Aged 19, he has portrayed enormous talent in a successful season for Liverpool. He is touted as one of the best findings for English football and a decent performance against Belgium will only assist in his uprising.
Belgium: Youri Tielemans. Martinez’s side is in its prime years but Tielemans is a bright prospect of Belgian football. Youri’s versatility is to be applauded as he can play in a number of midfield positions. He can link well with Fellaini and Dembele and can provide cover when others raid forward.
The Driving Spirit:
England: The English squad is in harmony and wants to keep the winning inertia to continue. There are obvious advantages of finishing second but England are adamant on going for full Monty. England are a side with great depth and furnished talent. It is one of the youngest and less-experienced sides yet have the muscle to shake this World Cup.
Belgium: Belgium are a side with immense dexterity, they have players who can change the outcome of a game single-handedly. Martinez will be a happy manager after Belgium’s recent outings. Belgium too will be eyeing a top spot and England are their only barrier. If Belgium are looking to win this tournament they will have to defeat some of the biggest teams and England could be first of many.
FREE FIFA World Cup Pick Belgium vs England
It’s fascinating to see how both of these soccer powerhouses treat this match. It is serving up a delicious showdown between England and Belgium. Both will be vying for top spot in Group G as they lock horns in Kaliningrad. It is expected to be a cagey affair. Both the teams are scheduled for numerous changes, the team which will be able to strike a balance between maintaining freshness and stability will come out as victors. England have better odds and probability to edge through brave Belgium and it is expected to be a low scoring game.
[button type=”big” color=”blue”] Pick: England +170 [/button]