England vs Belgium preview, betting tips and prediction
Draw @ 11/5 with Coral
If this match ends in a draw then it will probably be used as a pub quiz question for years to come. What criteria was used to decide who topped the group when Belgium and England finished level on points and goals at the 2018 World Cup? You probably already know that fair play will be the yardstick used to determine who deserves group supremacy. England currently have less cards than their Group G rivals so they’re top going into this clash.
They both warmed up for the first true test of their tournaments with big wins. England were five goals up at half-time against Panama. So far ahead that the Panama manager reportedly asked Gareth Southgate to take it easy after the break. The second half was tied with the game ending 6-1, allowing the competition minnows to have their moment, a goal to celebrate.
Belgium meanwhile cut Tunisia apart with Romelu Lukaku bagging a brace in a 5-2 win. This was the Belgians flexing their muscles. Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne could be the decisive forces in the encounter with England, both playmakers in tremendous form.
England have already scored more goals than in their last two World Cups combined but it’s a slightly misleading statistic. Harry Kane is leading the Golden Boot race but has only scored one goal from open play and the lack of chances created for the Spurs striker could end up being a problem for the Three Lions. Jesse Lingard is looking like a potential star of the World Cup, the banger he scored against Panama being among the goals of the competition.
Romelu Lukaku is in fearsome form up front for Belgium. The Manchester United striker is hungry for goals and being fed by some of the most creative players in European football. His finishing has been commendable even if he doesn’t take all of the chances created for him. Belgium’s defence looked a little suspect against Tunisia, a hallmark of Roberto Martinez teams. They will need to shore up heading into the knockout stage.
England should have a full team to choose from against Belgium.
A couple of injury doubts will have Belgium sweating going into the final group game. Martinez might choose to rest Hazard, Lukaku and Dries Mertens as a result.