England vs Belgium
World Cup Group G
Date: Thursday, 28 June 2018
Kick-Off at 19:00 UK / 20:00 CET
Venue: Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad.
Both England and Belgium will want to lose their decisive clash in the battle for the top spot in the group if Japan are to win the group H earlier on the day.
Roberto Martinez has already promised to give rest to the likes of Hazard, Lukaku and Mertens who have all allegedly suffered slight injuries in the 5-2 thumping of Tunisia.
It will be interesting to see if Gareth Southgate will make similar changes to Englaand’ss starting XI on the day.
England and Belgium should battle it out for the top spot in the group in their last round’s head to head tie in Kaliningrad on Thursday., However, it will rather turn into the quest for the defeat and the second-place finish are Japan to win the Group H, and they only need to beat the already-eliminated Poland to get there.
England Belgium Match Preview
Roberto Martinez has already thrown a hint he’d rest hiss main stars, including Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens, for the Thursday outing against the Three Lions.
Lukaku allegedly injured the ankle-ligament in the 5-2 victory over Panama, Mertens also has ankle issues, while Hazard strained his calf.
If Colombia go on and win the top spot in their respective group on Thursday afternoon, we could imagine all of these injuries mysteriously disappearing, but that’s unlikable scenario given Japan have the pole position there. In such circumstances, we can expect Gareth Southgate resting his top scorer Harry Kane as well on the occasion.
Anyhow, let’s get back to how these two likes did so far in the tournament. Belgium popped out as main contenders for the very top of the group after back-to-back wins by three-goal margin against the likes of Panama and Tunisia.
However, England got back in the contest after destroying Los Canaleros 6-1 with a hat-trick from Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane to move ahead of Belgium by the slimmest of margins, a fair play rule.
England vs Belgium Team News and Predicted Line-ups
England Team News
Dele Alli suffered a thigh injury in the opening fixture against Tunisia which is why Ruben Loftus-Cheek took his place in the starting line-up against Panama. Alli might be rested here as well.
Raheem Sterling surprisingly featured both of the previous clashes in the starting XI and we can expect him to be rested alongside Harry Kane here.
Loftus Cheek and Kyle Walker are one booking away from suspension, the duo could make way for Cahill and Eric Dier in the starting eleven.
Meantime, Fabian Delph is also pushing for a start in the middle of the park.
England Predicted Starting Eleven (3-5-2)
Pickford – Cahill, Stones, Maguire – Rose, Delph, Henderson, Dier, Trippier – Vardy, Rashford.
Belgium Team News
As mentioned above, Roberto Martinez announced he’d give rest to his main stars here.
Eden Hazard, Lukaku and Mertens will certainly be absent.
Thorgen Hazard and Michy Batshuayi should thus lead the line in the 3-5-2 formation for the Red Devils.
Marouane Fellaini and Moussa Dembele could get a chance to feature from the first whistle in the centre of the park.
Belgium Predicted Starting Eleven (3-4-2-1)
Courtois – Alderweireld, Boyata, Vertonghen – Meunier, De Bruyne, Fellaini, Carrasco – Dembele , Thorgen Hazard – Batshuayi.
England vs Belgium Head-to-head
The Three Lions have a positive head to head record in matches with Belgium. They won three, drew two and lost one of past six meetings with the Three Lions.
The first H2H clash was a legendary one. It took place at the 1954 World Cup when the European rivals shared spoils in an amazing 4-4 draw in the group phase.
Teams also shared spoils (1-1) 26 years later at the European Championship, while England finally got their first win over Belgium ten years later (1-0 after extra-time) in the R16 at the World Cup.
Following three ties had a friendly character, the most recent one taking place six years ago with England winning 1-0 at Wembley thanks to a goal from Danny Welbeck.
England vs Belgium Predictions
England clearly boosted up their confidence on Sunday, clinching their biggest-margin victory ever at World Cups.
Gareth Southgate has a huge decision to make on the day. Should he send the strongest side possible on the pitch to tackle Belgium and keep the momentum or it would be smarter to tank the affair and rest players for the round of 16 tie.
It’s hard to go out with any kind of predictions in such circumstances. We see the value in backing the draw at 3.20 knowing that none of the sides will actually want to win the match if Japan finish first in Group H.
It shouldn’t be a high-scoring thriller, meaning we will alternatively go with the Under 2.5 goals FT bet at the odds of 1.72.
Predicted Full-Time Result is a draw in what is expected to be a boring tie at Kaliningrad Stadium.
England vs Belgium Betting Tips
Draw @ 3.20.
Under 2.5 goals FT @ 1.72.
Correct FT Score: 0-0 Draw @ 9.00.