Southgate glad England 'love-in' is over ahead of World Cup last 16

01 July, 2018, 17:11 | Author: Malcolm Quinn
  • ENGLAND WAGS

Going into the game as Group G leaders, England fell behind Belgium in the pecking order when Adnan Januzaj struck early in the second half.

While Alexander-Arnold is the youngest England player in the XI, he's by no means alone as Southgate went with youth against Belgium - at least in comparison to other England sides. "I think we've done everything we can as a group to prepare ourselves".

Coach Roberto Martinez is likely to rest Lukaku even if he is fit to play, explaining that the Manchester United forward knows the team is more important than individual accolades such as the Golden Boot.

By winning the match and thus the group, Belgium moves to the "side of death" for the knockout round, where four of the top five teams in the world according to Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings - Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, and Argentina - will all compete for one spot in the final. "We saw that in the Euros two years ago".

Prior to this tournament, Skomina also refereed the second leg of Liverpool's Champions League semi-final with Roma last month when he gave the Italians a late penalty in a 4-2 victory that was not enough to prevent Jurgen Klopp's men reaching the final.

"In a non-game that was hard to watch at times, England came out looking cynical and Belgium in the end decided not to sully their image", concluded Brussels newspaper Le Soir after Thursday's match in which England coach Gareth Southgate did little to try to rescue a draw in the final half hour.


Martinez has hailed the pleasure his whole squad have been taking on the pitch and has worked to build a team spirit whereas clashes of egos bedevilled the Belgians under his predecessor Marc Wilmots at the last World Cup and at Euro 2016.

"All those calculations weren't something for us but for the press".

"We've at times had a squad with real top players and at times we've had a squad with not such outstanding players who've been in those knockout situations".

"Many different reasons", Southgate said of England's knockout struggles. "The outcome of this throw of the dice will be known on Tuesday".

Resting some starters and with possibly more to be gained with a loss in the match than a win, England never attacked with a convincing effort, and the match ended at the 1-0 mark.

With a place in the World Cup's last 16 already assured after wins over Tunisia and Panama, Southgate made eight changes for the Group G decider, with five-goal captain Harry Kane among those taken out of the starting line-up.

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