The two teams lock horns in a battle to finish at the summit of Group H.
The 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup is in full swing with the third and final round of group stage matches in progress. The initial round of fixtures has brought with it surprises and excitement galore and the competition will only become more intense.
Group G holds two teams who look in top form as we enter the final round, in England and Belgium. The Three Lions will take on the Red Devils at the Kalilingrad Stadium on Thursday and will feature stars from some of the biggest clubs in world football.
Belgium have enjoyed a resounding start to their World Cup campaign winning their first two games by three-goal margins. The likes of Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku, Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne and Chelsea’s Eden Hazard have found the net and provided assists on a regular basis and will be hoping to carry on their excellent form against England and in the Round of 16.
England needed a late Harry Kane goal to pull them over the line against Tunisia, but they put Panama to the sword in their next fixture, winning the game 6-1. Kane’s hat-trick put him on top in the race for the Golden Boot and he will be looking to add to his tally at every opportunity he gets.
England manager Gareth Southgate has employed a three at the back system in the first two games and has seen very pleasing results. This system allows for the likes of Jesse Lingard to play in between the lines and cause havoc in opposition defences.
Roberto Martinez is a man that most fans of the Premier League will be familiar with from his time at Wigan and most recently at Everton. The Spaniard will know the England side very well having coached against most of its players as a Premier League manager. He will hope to use the pace and ingenuity of Hazard and the sublime footballing brain of De Bruyne to put the English defence to the sword.
John Stones and Harry Maguire in the English defence have looked solid, but England are prone to lapses in concentration, as was outlined by the goal they conceded to Panama from a set-piece. The Belgians will look to capitalize on this tendency for mistakes and get the ball to Lukaku in goalscoring positions.
England’s main concern will have to be stopping the barrage of attacks that the Red Devils produce, with Hazard, Dries Mertens and Lukaku all having chipped in with goals in the past. The pace of Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling might prove to be what it takes to unlock a large but relatively slow Belgian defence.
This match will be one of the games with the highest viewership as it will have a plethora of players from the world’s most watched league on display. It will will decide the winner of the group and will be hotly-contested as two of football’s rising powers will take their places opposite each other, hoping to prove their worth to the world.