Home Fifa World Cup - Russia 2018 Belgium vs England match preview #WorldCup

Belgium vs England match preview #WorldCup

Jammie Vardy

TEAM NEWS

Belgium defender Thomas Meunier is available after missing the semi-final defeat by France through suspension.

Head coach Roberto Martinez could make changes, but striker Romelu Lukaku, who is two goals behind Harry Kane in the race for the Golden Boot, should start.

England manager Gareth Southgate has said he would be “really surprised” if Kieran Trippier, who injured his groin against Croatia, plays on Saturday.

Jordan Henderson and Ashley Young will also be assessed. All 23 players trained on Friday and Southgate says “we want to make as few changes as possible”.

OVERVIEW

Football will not be coming home. England’s World Cup dreams may have been ended by the wily Croats but what a tournament this has been for Gareth Southgate’s young Lions.

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Their Russian odyssey ends with the game that no one wants to play in. Their third place play-off with Belgium will be the second time they have played each other in this tournament in a match that is effectively a dead rubber.

What the game does have at stake is a shootout for the Golden Boot between Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku. Kane leads his Belgian rival by six goals to four although Lukaku has an assist to his name which could prove crucial if they finish level on goals (finalists France have Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann on three goals each).

Should Kane win the award he would become only the second Englishman to do so after Gary Lineker in 1986.

VIEW FROM BOTH CAMPS

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez: “Belgian football has got a wealth of young talent coming through and in my role, I’ve got an eye on the Euros in 2020.

“We need to focus on that final game, coming back to St Petersburg and facing the opportunity of fighting for that third place. “Then we’ll need to regroup… we need to look at the younger generation and try to become stronger from tournament to tournament.”

England manager Gareth Southgate: “The honest thing is it’s not a game any team wants to play in.

“We have two days to prepare. We will want to give a performance of huge pride. There’s no question about that. It’s always there every time we wear the shirt of our national team, we want to play with pride, we want to play well and win.”

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • This is their second meeting at this World Cup following a 1-0 win for Belgium in the group stage.
  • Before that game, England had lost just one of their previous 21 matches against Belgium (W15, D5).
  • They are the first teams to play each other twice at the same World Cup since Turkey played Brazil two times in 2002.

Belgium

  • Belgium has played in this fixture once before and lost 4-2 after extra time against France in 1986.
  • They hold the record for most of the knockout games at a World Cup without keeping a single clean sheet (14). No other side has played more seven knockout matches without at least one shut-out.
  • The Red Devils haven’t lost consecutive World Cup matches against European teams since 1990 when they were beaten by Spain and England.
  • They have lost just two of their 26 matches under Roberto Martinez – his first in charge in September 2016 against Spain and his most recent versus France in the semi-final).
  • Belgium has scored more goals, 14, than any other side at this World Cup.
  • They have not suffered back-to-back defeats in competitive games since losing European Championship qualifiers to Germany and Turkey in September 2010.
  • Striker Romelu Lukaku has scored 23 goals in his 23 appearances under Roberto Martinez for Belgium, though he’s not scored in any of his last three. He’s never gone four games without a goal for the national side since the Spaniard has been in charge.
  • They are the only side to beat a team from all five Fifa Confederations at this World Cup.

England

  • England’s only other match in a World Cup third-place play-off match was at the 1990 World Cup – they faced Italy and lost 2-1.
  • They have already scored 12 goals, more than they have at any other World Cup finals.
  • England has now been eliminated in four of their five semi-finals at major tournaments, losing each of the last four in a row (Euro 1968 v Yugoslavia, World Cup 1990 v West Germany, Euro 1996 v Germany and World Cup 2018 v Croatia).
  • They are trying to win four matches at a World Cup for only the second time – they won five in 1966.
  • England has had six different goalscorers at this tournament (excluding own goals) – their most at a World Cup – surpassing the five they had at 1954, 1998 & 2002.
  • Only Germany and Italy (both 11) have been involved in more extra-time matches at a World Cup than England’s 10.
  • England had 15 shots on target in their first two 2018 World Cup matches against Tunisia (eight) and Panama (seven) but has had just eight in their four games since – exactly two in each match.
  • No Englishman has scored more World Cup goals in a single tournament than the six Harry Kane has scored in 2018. Gary Lineker also netted six in 1986, winning the Golden Boot in the process.
  • But Kane has had just one shot on target in his last three World Cup matches – his penalty against Colombia in the last 16.
  • They have scored nine goals from set pieces at the 2018 World Cup – the most by a team in a single World Cup tournament since 1966.

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