Adnan Januzaj strike condemns England to second place in Group G

Adnan Januzaj strike condemns England to second place in Group G

Belgium seemed happy with their lot, so England pressed and Rashford hammered a free kick over the bar. Belgium appeared to be a reluctant victor.

Southgate did not get off the bench during the 2002 World Cup, and has spoken about how, while he clearly wished his team-mates well, ultimately it is not an enjoyable experience for those not involved. Neither team needed to win and there was good reason for neither to even want to win. But that might not turn out to be the desirable outcome since the victory diverted Belgium onto the tougher potential path to the final. - The big talking point before this game was whether the team who finished second in the group would have an "easier" run to the semi-final of the tournament. Spain, Portugal, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Colombia have all been pushed to the limit in their groups, with only France having a similarly easy ride into the round of 16. "You can not plan the ideal scenario, you've seen big nations already eliminated", said the Spaniard.

The Three Lions showed more attacking intent during the final stages of the first half but they were let down by their final pass, as the sides went into the break scoreless. Belgium made nine changes and still won.

Meanwhile, RTE pundit Liam Brady said England's loss to Belgium demonstrated their lack of squad depth, particularly in midfield.

The result set England up with a tricky round of 16 matchup against an improving Colombia side, but are now on the favourable side of the draw.

The reward for progressing past the round of 16 would be a tie against the victor of Sweden vs Switzerland, with a potential semifinal clash against one of Spain, Russia, Croatia or Denmark.




"Harry was brilliant about it", said Southgate, as he was asked about the absence of Kane. But when you're a leader and a manager, you have to make decisions which are right for your group to achieve the primary objective.

"He's a fearless manager and he makes big decisions in big times", Maguire said of Southgate, who's been criticised for his lineup.

"We need to go step-by-step, but I think that we can face anyone that we've got in front of us", the Spaniard said after an Adnan Januzaj goal early in the second half handed the Belgians the more daunting half of the draw. The leading scorer in Russian Federation with five goals watched the match from the bench. Kane leads the charts at the moment with five goals, one ahead of Romelu Lukaku, who also didn't play Belgium on Thursday, and Cristiano Ronaldo.

"But Belgium are miles better than the other teams we've played so perhaps it's been a bit of a wake-up call for the players. But what that means for the next round, we don't really know", said Southgate.

As the minutes ticked away the players slowed to a walking pace in a farcical end to the match, with both sides settling for the status quo.

England defender Gary Cahill barely saves a Belgian goal after a major blunder by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (seated, centre, and watching) who nearly put the ball in his own net. And after a fumble by Pickford, Gary Cahill made a goal-line clearance.

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