Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Belgium beats England for top spot in battle of reserves

Gareth Southgate makes huge Harry Kane call for Belgium clash Harry Kane wants to continue his hunt for more goals
Ivan Hill | 04 July, 2018, 19:07

"We created openings to get something from the game, but we have to keep improving". It was disappointing to lose the game, but we have lost nothing.

Former Manchester United and Real Madrid favourite Beckham starred as England captain after the turn of the century but had to be content with a pair of quarter-final exits at the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

"When you are leader and a manager you need to make decisions that are right for your group and sometimes those decisions will be criticized and I understand that", he said.

The World Cup started with eight groups of four, 32 nations in all seeking to make it to the knockout stage.

"The level of support was brilliant throughout and I think they could see we were still pushing until the end but we wanted to do that in a way that... look, if we put Harry on for 10 minutes and somebody whacks him down his ankle, that would be ridiculous".

"Everybody is in the frame to play in the next game and it was important these players were given time on the pitch to press their case".

Opposite number Roberto Martinez is expected to make wholesale changes to his team, with Manchester United forward Romelu Lukaku nearly certain to miss out after picking up an ankle knock in Belgium's 5-2 win over Tunisia.

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England manager Gareth Southgate once again reiterated his desire to win the game and continue a fine run of form but at his own pre-match news conference, Martinez stated three points were only part of the equation.

England and Belgium were vying for top spot in the group, although pundits have pointed out that whoever finishes first in the table may find a more hard path towards the final, with teams like Brazil standing in the way, reports Efe. Germany are out and not many would think that would be a possibility; in the last three minutes, Spain were top of the group; and we saw how close Argentina came.

Asked if England fans were getting carried away, he added: "We always do - we scraped past Tunisia, we beat a very poor Panama side but we always get excited at big tournaments".

"I decided that I was going to rely on the other match's result".

As defeats go this one had little sting for England who went down 1-0 to Belgium in their group finale on Thursday with any disappointemnt, of which there was little, softened by a potentially easier route deeper into the tournament.

Harry Kane has been in prolific form in Russian Federation, netting five goals in his first two matches to lead the scoring charts. We should now be the most positive we've ever been.

"I hope we are going to get to the final - we have to".

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