All options now clear for England as Belgium boss admits ‘The priority is not to win’ – 17 changes in line-ups!
The talking will soon be over with England taking on Belgium at 7pm tonight.
A subject that has been done to earth, whether England will be better off finishing top or second in the group and will they be trying….
Well, after the conclusion of the Group H matches this afternoon, at least we know the England route to the Quarters. Semis, Final…depending on whether they or Belgium are top after tonight’s game.
All the permutations are below but in brief…
If England win the group they will play Japan on Monday night and then Brazil or Mexico the following Saturday (7 July) night.
End up runners up and it is Colombia on Tuesday night and then either Sweden or Switzerland on Saturday (7 July) afternoon.
Roberto Martinez declared before naming his team ‘The priority is not to win’, insisting that qualification was the big thing and now it is about making sure players aren’t injured and/or don’t pick up second yellows (see below).
As for Gareth Southgate he was a lot more bullish and insisted that there would be no thoughts given as to whether finishing runners-up might be better for future rounds (see below).
Anyway, whatever the pair said it has had the same outcome, whilst the two countries keep the same keepers, of the 20 outfield positions there have been 17 changes – Belgium changing nine and England eight (it is Eden Hazard’s brother who is named to start, the Chelsea player on the bench).
Pickford, Jones, Stones, Cahill, Dier, Alexander-Arnold, Loftus-Cheek, Delph,Rose, Rashford, Vardy
Courtois, Dendoncker, Boyata, Vermaelen, Chadli, Fellaini, Dembélé, Januzaj, Tielemans, T Hazard, Batshuayi
“We want to perform well but the priority is not to win.
“The reality is we put ourselves in this situation, we wanted to qualify and we have done that.
“There are players with yellow cards and I don’t think it would be professional for us to put those players in a risk to miss the knockout phase.
“It is very important for us to protect and give every player the best possible programme to be in the best condition in the knockout game.”
“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.”
ENGLAND FINISH TOP OF GROUP G
Monday 2 July 7pm:
Saturday 7 July 7pm
Brazil or Mexico
Tuesday 10 July 7pm
France, Argentina, Uruguay or Portugal
Sunday 15 July 4pm
Spain, Russia, Croatia, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Colombia or Belgium
ENGLAND FINISH RUNNERS-UP OF GROUP G
Tuesday 3 July 7pm:
Saturday 7 July 3pm
Sweden or Switzerland
Wednesday 11 July 7pm
Spain, Russia, Croatia or Denmark
Sunday 15 July 4pm
France, Argentina, Uruguay, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Japan or Belgium
England v Belgium Match Betting:
All England v Belgium betting HERE
If you would like to feature on The Mag, submit your article to [email protected]