I see the media are now in full swing, building up England pre-tournament on the basis of very little.

A 2-1 win over Nigeria on Saturday kept the media momentum going, supposedly a game full of positives for England.

Even if it hadn’t been against the 47th ranked team in the world, surely we ave all learnt the difference between friendlies and competitive matches.

The way England/English clubs play, with friendlies there is usually very little difference compared to competitive games, whereas other countries use them as more of a training/fitness exercise. For England, everybody – the team, players, media and fans, it is about winning.

No wonder so many people get so deluded before tournaments as they base England chances so much on friendly results, forgetting the past, when reality hits and the Three Lions play a proper team in a tournament.

I had to laugh this weekend as I have seen the ultimate England delusion trotted out (and they call Newcastle fans deluded…).

As soon as I saw our group announced I was worried, with Belgium there, I thought that is one place booked so no slip-ups can be allowed against Panama or Tunisia.

However, others think very differently.

Loads of comments I have seen, show fans who are sure that England are better than Belgium, and that it would be a disappointment/failure if Southgate’s players don’t do better than them.

No wonder the bookies love it when England reach a tournament finals.

Exactly what criteria can you use to believe England have a better team/squad than Belgium?

Germany and Brazil are currently the top two ranked countries in the world, Belgium are third. England are eleventh.

Even despite always cutting England’s odds because they know fans will blindly back them, England are as high as 20/1 to win the World Cup, Belgium are 11/1.

In qualifying, Belgium scored a joint European record 43 goals, they have a team full of goals and invention.

Just look at some of the players Belgium can call on:

Kevin de Bruyne

Eden Hazard

Vincent Kompany

Thibaut Courtois

Jan Vertonghen

Mousa Dembele

Thomas Meunier

Toby Alderweireld

Thomas Vermaelen

Dries Mertens

Romelu Lukaku

Youri Tielemans

Axel Witsel

Then you have others such as Batshuayi and Dendoncker as great back ups.

With England, once you get past the likes of Kane, Walker and maybe Sterling, the players aren’t brilliant.

There isn’t a stand out goalkeeper, all three play for clubs outside the top six in the Premier League.

Then with players such as Cahill, Dier, Young and others making the starting eleven, not to mention then Delph, Welbeck and Loftus Cheek coming off the bench on Saturday.

England could well beat Belgium this month, after all this is football, but if they do it will be a massive surprise based on the quality of the two teams.

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  • kingfisher

    To be honest,I couldn’t give a toss about England. It’s the same scenario every time a competion comes around.The press build them up and try to whip up some over the top misplaced patriotism among the masses, and then when they fail miserably, the media will take great delight in hammering them.
    A bunch of egotistical,overpaid guys who don’t live in the real world.
    Take Sterling for example.Who in their right mind would think it would be ok to get even a normal tattoo inked just before a major competion, let alone an image of an M16 rifle ?It really does sum up his and all the other so called “role models” attitude! 😠😠😠

    • Phil Yare

      well said

  • Paul Patterson

    For what it’s worth, England will likely scrape a win against Panama OR Tunisia and draw the other one, then lose to Belgium.

  • MadMag83

    Wales knocked out Belgium in the Euro’s….

  • Alan Pardew

    When people ask me about England … well, if I was still at Newcastle, I’d be pretty keen on that England job.

  • Gallowgate Dave

    Whilst I agree with the author that Belgium should be considered favourites for the match and it certainly isn’t a foregone conclusion we qualify from the group, I think expectations are fairly modest and have been for a good few years now. That won’t stop people getting excited and why not? What’s the point unless you have hope? It’s a cup competition and England are on a par with say an Everton or a Leicester entering the FA Cup, not exactly favourites but with a bit of luck capable of challenging the big boys. Just don’t put your mortgage on it.

  • thewildchimp

    The Belgians have De Bruyne and Hazard, the English have… Dele Alli might be alright… That being said – it’s not unwinnable for England.

    P.S. Don’t get me wrong, Kane and Vardy are good, but they need service. And it’s usually foreigners serving them in the PL.

  • Phil Yare

    couldn’t care a bit about england. probably the most anti-newcastle team in history. 59 caps for peter beardsley is an absolute disgrace considering hes one of the best players this country has ever produced. even andy cole couldn’t get a cap when he scored 41 in one season for newcastle.
    personally i hope they get kicked out the first opportunity