Gareth Southgate: England players fully behind my Belgium decisions
- Author: Marlene Weaver Jun 29, 2018,
Jun 29, 2018, 14:51
After a last-gasp 2-1 win against Tunisia and then a 6-1 thrashing of a Panama team who, as Rio Ferdinand said, had all the quality of a non-league side, suddenly "football's coming home".
"I think it will be an interesting game, a 50-50 game, and both teams are qualified so it will be a unusual game", said Fellaini, who plays in England for Manchester United, having made his name for another Premier League club Everton.
"I am amused when people are plotting the route right through to where we would rather stay in for the semifinal".
The result sees Belgium top Group G meaning they will go on to face Japan in the next round while England play Colombia.
The World Cup bracket is officially set, and Belgium looks to have a harder path to the final despite its win. OK, we didn't win the game, but there was a myriad of other things involved in the decision.
All the final group matches are played together to avoid what happened to Algeria in 1982.
"What I've discussed with the players is we must not waste any energy thinking whether it's better to be first or second in the group, who we might play in future rounds", said Southgate. Neither team needed to win and there was good reason for neither to even want to win.
Meanwhile, Belgium boss Roberto Martinez praised his team's performance, telling reporters: 'The victory is a effect of a very good display.
"We have won one knock-out match in the last 15 years or so, so our focus is to keep winning".
Results elsewhere and the way the knockout draw has fallen so far have led to widespread suggestions the runner up out of England and Belgium would be in a better position to blaze a trail into the latter stages.
"The victory is a effect of a very good performance". They face the risky Colombia and will meet the victor of Sweden against Switzerland in the last eight if they come through.
'That sums up his luck at the moment, ' Ian Wright, the former Arsenal and England striker, joked to ITV after the full-time whistle.
In Group H, Colombia finished top of the standings with a 1-0 victory over Senegal while Japan barely squeezed into the final 16 despite losing 1-0 to Poland - because the Samurai Blue had fewer tournament yellow cards than Senegal.
Martinez has already floated the idea of wholesale changes against England, in a game where he claims victory is not a "priority" for his side.
The victor of group G will be decided on fair play ratings and England have collected two yellow cards to Belgium's three going into the tie.
Roberto Martinez insists he is happy to have seen Belgium beat England to top spot in World Cup Group G, despite concerns over a potentially tougher draw.
The other group game is between Panama and Tunisia.