We're here to win, not plot final route, says England's Southgate

Dean Simpson
June 28, 2018

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.

Tunisia have only ever won one game at a World Cup finals - and that was back in Argentina in 1978, when they beat Mexico 3-1.

With Germany suffering a shock elimination and Brazil not yet guaranteed to qualify, some have suggested finishing second in the group would give England, who are in the aforementioned pair's half of the draw, an easier route to the final.

England's manager is wary of his memories of the 2002 World Cup when he did not play a single minute and, while he wished his team-mates well, ultimately found it a frustrating time.

"I could see that the players were hungry enough and humble enough to be ready to take on board some of the ideas we were going to try to implement, so I thought it was worth having a go with them and that's probably the biggest thing I am pleased with".

The teams have been among World Cup 2018's top scoring sides after Game 2, but their attacking prowess will fade under the pressure that accompanies this decisive game.

Romelu Lukaku is unlikely to be risked in Belgium's concluding World Cup Group G game against England in Kaliningrad. Why we are starting to plot which would be a better venue for our semi-final is beyond me.

"We think that we need to keep winning football matches", he said.

The thrashing was infinitely more comfortable than last week's cagey win over Tunisia and victory ensured England cruised into the knockout stage with a game to spare.

If both teams finish with the same number of bookings, then lots will be drawn to decide the final positions. Tomorrow we want to perform well but the priority is not to win.

Interestingly, now England and Belgium are on the same points, goal difference and even goals scored.

"Equally, he is the captain and he knows he will be judged on how far we go as a team". "That would mean we top the group and we would go into whatever game we go into moving forward". England, with one fewer yellow card, top that as it stands.

"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.

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