Southgate set to make eight changes to England side against Belgium

Marcus Newton
June 28, 2018

"We want to win the game, that would mean we would top the group, and we play who we play in the next round", Southgate added.

England enter their final World Cup group game tonight facing an unusual scenario where a defeat might actually benefit them in the long run.

England are top of Group G, level on points with Belgium, with Gareth Southgate's side ahead only by virtue of having fewer yellow cards.

However, the focus will be on England vs Belgium.

Whoever finishes runners up of Group G will encounter Brazil or Mexico in the quarter finals, while the victor will face Sweden or Switzerland.

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The 24-year-old is the leading scorer at the World Cup with four goals in two games, and Neville has labelled Kane as "world class" at the tournament.

England impressed in their opening two World Cup games, beating Tunisia 2-1 in Volgograd and thumping Panama 6-1 in Nizhny Novgorod. Kyle Walker is on a booking so will be rested for the last-16. Here's what Three Lions stars of yesteryear have had to say. Tomorrow we want to perform well but the priority is not to win.

Speaking to TalkSport, Southgate said: "As a manager you've got to think about the whole squad and then your second thought is always for individuals and their own situations - that's a really complex balance in any business when you're managing people, but I'm sure we will get that right".

Despite insisting he would never send out a team with instructions not to win, Southgate has made eight changes from the side that thrashed Panama in Nizhny Novgorod last weekend.

Whoever tops the group will be handed a tougher route through the knockout stages, with a possible quarter-final showdown with Brazil. From an England view, it is important to give the squad faith and trust. "From Belgium's point of view, if the rumours are true and they are resting ten players in this game, they are thinking they want to get into the other half of the draw and avoid Brazil, Uruguay, France, Argentina and Portugal". Now is the only time'. Although it was one of the standout fixtures in the group stages prior to the World Cup, the fact that both teams are already through to the knockout stages means the match could be a low-key affair devoid of any real drama. Do me a favour.

He also hopes that all the England players at Spurs make it to the England team against Belgium, which would make the contest even more entertaining and special.

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