Belgium defeat England 1-0 as stars watch from bench

Gareth Southgate makes huge Harry Kane call for Belgium clash

But the prospect of trying to pick up some sneaky yellow cards, a move which backfired quite spectacularly for David Beckham in a 2004 World Cup qualifier, has not even been broached with the squad, Southgate said.

Both halves of the draw are hard.

England´s forward Harry Kane celebrates with England´s midfielder Jordan Henderson (R) after scoring a penalty during the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup Group G football match between England and Panama at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on June 24, 2018. "Most people are seeing it as a win due to who England could now face on the road to the final".

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

Southgate has gambled, and time will tell if it paid off. England are now on two yellows, Belgium three.

"We had our chances but never took them". It was like welcoming back an old friend, then remembering why you stopped hanging around with them, all those years ago.

I'd argue Belgium's path to the final is no more hard given England likely will need to get through Colombia and Spain. Belgium have secured an arguably easier round-of-16 tie against Japan, but after that, Brazil potentially lie in wait in the quarterfinals.

The downside came in the poor display from Eric Dier, whose pedestrian effort cemented Jordan Henderson's place as midfield anchorman while Phil Jones did nothing to suggest he would be a significant figure again. I know in some quarters that will be criticised but I am entirely comfortable with that. "But the main thing is getting the team through the first knock-out".

Harry Kane's involvement is one of the tricky decisions facing Southgate.

"We´ve not won a knockout game since 2006".

He contradicted himself by essentially saying England is still growing ahead of a fixture in which it can't afford to be uncertain. The first two will always be regarded as gimmies and we got what we should have out of them but we could have made a statement by coming away with nine points.

The fans certainly won't care, especially these set of fans - the Belgians who have seen their golden generation consistently underachieve, and the English who are perhaps the most tortured group of fans in world football.

Thanks to its magnificent midfield, Croatia looks like one of the strongest sides of the tournament so far. With the Fair Play tie-breaker in mind, it was not a thriller in Kaliningrad until Adnan Januzaj chose to spice things up a bit. "Germany is out of the competition".

"We came here for more, so it wouldn´t be a good result for us not to reach the second round", Pekerman said.

For all Southgate's insistence that victory was all in this final group game, a starting line-up containing eight changes from the win against Panama was hugely informative.

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