England face Belgium in their final Group G game with both nations knowing they will be in the last 16, although they are playing for first place. Yet, in a quite bizarre situation, to outsiders it seems as though finishing second would be beneficial as it would leave you on the seemingly weaker side of the draw.
With that in mind, both sides are expected to make major changes, with reports speculating that Roberto Martinez could switch every outfield player. Those who are a booking away from missing the next round are sure to miss out and both nations have a lot of depth so it may not impact the spectacle for fans. The situation has come about after two convincing wins for the pair against Panama and Tunisia, which has left them on six points with a +6 goal difference and the same goals scored and conceded.
Here we will give you England vs Belgium betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Belgium vs England prediction for the Group G encounter.
Our England vs Belgium Prediction: England 2-1 Belgium
Our England vs Belgium prediction tips is for an entertaining game that England edge because we expect that they will make fewer changes on the night.
Belgium really clicked into gear against Tunisia in their last match, particularly in the final third, playing some great football and scoring five. Despite that, anyone who saw their game will have said they were wasteful, as they really should’ve scored at least eight as they cut the African side open at will. As mentioned though, it will be a very different team tonight, although they will have Vincent Kompany in defence, who will hope to prove his fitness for the remainder of the tournament.
England have been equally impressive, blowing Panama away in just 45 minutes last time out and there seems a real balance in Gareth Southgate’s side. Given that, we think they will settle into the game quicker ahead of the much-changed Belgians and could edge this.
Our recommended tip – BTTS
Even though we think England will sneak this, a safer bet for punters would be BTTS. It’s landed in both of the Three Lions game and Belgium managed to concede two against Tunisia.
The pressure free nature of the game could mean it’s a good watch, with both sides having nothing to lose and will want to impress, and they’re both naturally attacking teams. Additionally, teh strength in depth means there is still a lot of quality coming in. For instance, Michy Batshuayi will lead the line for the Red Devils and Jamie Vardy for England. They’re both good players and like the rest of the team, will be eager to prove themselves ahead of the knockout games.
The clash in Kaliningrad will be the 22nd meeting between the two nations and one that England have dominated, winning 15 of the previous encounters. Two have been played at the World Cup, back in ’54 and ’90, ending in a draw and a Three Lions win.
As for their form, Belgium were brilliant going forward against Tunisia after a fairly flat performance against Panama before but you can’t read too much into either game such is the gulf in class between the sides. They’ve done what has needed to be done and turned on the style a bit last time out. However, the serious stuff won’t start until the next round.
Similarly, England are in the same position. They have done well but it’s limited opposition. One concern will be the reliance on set-pieces, with Southgate’s men not creating too much from open play apart from the first half against Tunisia. Nevertheless, they’ve done well and Harry Kane is scoring goals but the real tests start now.
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Players to watch – Michy Batshuayi & Marcus Rashford
The Chelsea striker only came on for 30 minutes last time out but seriously should’ve had five goals. He only managed the one but the fact he is such a useful sub will please his manager. He ended the season at Dortmund on form and with Romelu Lukaku nursing a slight knock, Batshuayi may be called on from the bench at times in the coming games and a solid outing here could convince Martinez that he has a good option if Lukaku is struggling.
For England, the one selection dilemma facing Southgate for the last 16 is whether to start Rashford or Raheem Sterling. The Manchester United man shone in warm-up friendlies and has the ability to be a real star at this tournament. A big performance here could see him break into the XI for the knockout game.