England and Belgium may rest top players in World Cup group finale
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Both England and Belgium will want to lose their decisive clash in the battle for the top spot in the group if Japan are to win the group H earlier on the day.
Roberto Martinez has already promised to give rest to the likes of Hazard, Lukaku and Mertens who have all allegedly suffered slight injuries in the 5-2 thumping of Tunisia.
It will be interesting to see if Gareth Southgate will make similar changes to Englaand’ss starting XI on the day.
The Three Lions have a positive head to head record in matches with Belgium. They won three, drew two and lost one of past six meetings with the Three Lions.
The first H2H clash was a legendary one. It took place at the 1954 World Cup when the European rivals shared spoils in an amazing 4-4 draw in the group phase.
Teams also shared spoils (1-1) 26 years later at the European Championship, while England finally got their first win over Belgium ten years later (1-0 after extra-time) in the R16 at the World Cup.
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Following three ties had a friendly character, the most recent one taking place six years ago with England winning 1-0 at Wembley thanks to a goal from Danny Welbeck.
England clearly boosted up their confidence on Sunday, clinching their biggest-margin victory ever at World Cups.
Gareth Southgate has a huge decision to make on the day. Should he send the strongest side possible on the pitch to tackle Belgium and keep the momentum or it would be smarter to tank the affair and rest players for the round of 16 tie.
It’s hard to go out with any kind of predictions in such circumstances. We see the value in backing the draw by knowing that none of the sides will actually want to win the match if Japan finish first in Group H.