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All options now clear for England as Belgium boss admits ‘The priority is not to win’ – 17 changes in line-ups!

3 years ago

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

Roberto Martinez:

“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.”

Gareth Southgate:

“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.”


Last 16

Monday 2 July 7pm:



Saturday 7 July 7pm

Brazil or Mexico

Semi Finals

Tuesday 10 July 7pm

France, Argentina, Uruguay or Portugal


Sunday 15 July 4pm

Spain, Russia, Croatia, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Colombia or Belgium


Last 16

Tuesday 3 July 7pm:



Saturday 7 July 3pm

Sweden or Switzerland

Semi Finals

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:

England win 8/5Draw 15/8Belgium win 11/5

Vardy to score first goal 17/4England to win and both teams to score 19/4 –  England win 2-1 19/2

All England v Belgium betting HERE


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