Was the loss to Belgium a reality check for England?

ENGLAND WAGS

What looked like being one of the ties of the group stage instead became a rather odd encounter given the talk about the most favourable knockout route, including suggestions that finishing runners-up may be preferable.

"England are very unEngland this tournament - even when they're losing they're winning under Gareth Southgate", a Paddy Power spokesperson said in a statement. "It's been unusual to see them struggle as much as they have".

Belgium beat England, 1-0, to win Group G and officially set the bracket for the knockout stage of the 2018 World Cup.

Southgate rested a cluster of players who had been involved in wins against Tunisia and Panama in England´s opening two games in Russian Federation, including star striker Harry Kane.

Southgate's approach has been backed by the players. It is a question that has nagged at the England manager this week. But, for me, that was the right thing to do and you've got to take decisions you believe are the right ones. Usually, that is on a run, but after dislocating his shoulder in Repino during a day off last week, Southgate has spent time gathering his thoughts on a Wattbike, instead. That could give England's Harry Kane an opportunity to extend his lead in the Golden Boot race, with the Tottenham star on five goals, while Lukaku and Cristiano Ronaldo have scored four apiece.

Martinez has suggested he could make wholesale changes to his side but at the very least is expected to rest defender Jan Vertonghen, winger Thomas Meunier and midfielder Kevin De Bruyne, who have all picked up a yellow card.

The Tunisia captain's hard, rising shot in the 66th minute lifted his team to a 2-1 triumph over Panama.

Rockets' Harden wins Most Valuable Player Award
Williams kissed his two young daughters on his way to the stage after becoming the Clippers' third victor in the last five years. Casey won over Quin Snyder of Utah and Brad Stevens of Boston. "I wouldn't have it any other way, for real".

It was obvious Belgium's reserves of strength are vastly superior to England's - Martinez's dirt-trackers, to use a rugby phrase, are fitter for goal than Southgate's.

"I've got to think through all of those things: competition for places, players who need match minutes, and keeping the unity of the squad", said the England manager. I don't think mentally we lose anything because they know we've made changes and they know Belgium weren't their full team. Are their strong starts legitimate or the upshot of a soft draw and an obsolete final game?

"We've played well in the games leading into it and played well in the tournament". "What this means for the next round we don't really know". I can't imagine a situation where I talk to the players about anything else. He has tested that philosophy to its limits, locating them in Kaliningrad's Radisson hotel, over the road from the Maxim strip club and right in the centre of town.

"Southgate gambled here", said BBC's chief football writer Phil McNulty. Which many will agree, oh you brainy bunch.

With both teams not keen to take any risks, little happened before Batshuayi forced a corner which then saw a shot from Marouane Fellaini blocked by Alexander-Arnold on the line.

Even if neither side wanted to win Thursday's game, that didn't stop the contest from producing a moment of excellence courtesy of Belgium's Adnan Januzaj.

Related news:

Hot News

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Google Home and Chromecast suffer massive global outage
Jun 30, 2018 - 18:34
Google, however, refused to confirm the cause of the outage and whether or not it was associated with a broken software patch. The smart speakers house the artificial intelligence-powered Google Assistant which responds to voice commands and requests.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Bali airport reopens as volcano rumbles
Jun 30, 2018 - 18:31
Indonesia sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, an area known for seismic upheavals and volcanic eruptions. The return flight NZ246 from Denpasar to Auckland has also been cancelled.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Germany is the third straight World Cup holder to exit early
Jun 30, 2018 - 17:22
Top stat: Sweden's game against South Korea saw the most fouls (43) of any game at Russian Federation 2018 so far. The 58-year-old will have to answer why the youngster was surplus to requirement for his party to the World Cup .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Cristiano Ronaldo is the equal of two strikers
Jun 30, 2018 - 16:50
Against Cavani, he has played four matches in the Champions League, scoring three goals, compared to one from the Uruguayan. It has been like that for the whole of 2018. "You don't prepare a match just looking at one player".

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Based firm to track Ranbir Kapoor-starrer Sanju's box office collections
Jun 30, 2018 - 14:52
On the first day of its release, Sanju earned Rs 34.75 Crore and became the biggest opener at the box office of 2018. Ranbir is accompanied by many fine actors, Paresh Rawal, Manisha Koirala, Anushka Sharma, Dia Mirza among others.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Apple, Samsung settle patent infringement battle after seven years
Jun 28, 2018 - 14:43
In May this year, Samsung had lost the appeal against the initial verdict in which Apple had won the patent infringement claim. When the case finally went to trial in 2012, Apple emerged victorious, with a jury awarding Apple $1 billion in damages.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Trump Attacks Harley Over Possible Overseas Production
Jun 28, 2018 - 11:26
Add Donald Trump as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Donald Trump news, video, and analysis from ABC News. Harley on Wednesday responded while sidestepping the controversy and not commenting on the president's tweets.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Read Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement letter to Donald Trump
Jun 28, 2018 - 07:28
The president said he will begin a search immediately for a new justice, with a list of 25 candidates. The same smear tactics also almost took down President George H.W.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Last chance saloon for Messi, Argentina
Jun 26, 2018 - 22:13
Croatia has no pressure in its match against Iceland , which must win its final Group D game in Rostov-on-Don to advance. All eyes will be on Messi as Argentina seeks to avoid the prospect of an early elimination.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Thiago Silva: "Neymar insulted me" in Brazil win over Costa Rica
Jun 26, 2018 - 22:12
The African side will secure a spot in the knockout stage if they beat Argentina on Tuesday in Group D's final round of fixtures. Brazil have won 10 of their 11 meetings with Costa Rica in all competitions, the one loss coming in a friendly in 1960.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Serena Serena happy to plant seed of doubt for Wimbledon rivals
Jun 26, 2018 - 21:48
Looking towards King in the Centre Court Royal Box afterwards, Williams said: "Hey Billie, I got you, it's number 13 for me". Serena Williams will likely make her latest comeback at Wimbledon .

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Messi to have more ball time against Nigeria
Jun 26, 2018 - 21:27
You can watch Argentina v/s Nigeria match in Bengali, Malayalam, Tamil or Telugu commentary on on Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD. Over the span of his career, Messi is known for being the ultimate big game player, for club and country.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Uber Driver Was Streaming Hulu Show Just Before Self-Driving Car Crash
Jun 26, 2018 - 20:29
An Uber spokeswoman announced the company was undergoing a "top-to-bottom safety review" last month. Then, she told investigators that neither her personal nor work phones had been in use at the time.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top Etsy sellers confront unknowns after Supreme Court ruling
Jun 25, 2018 - 06:58
EBay also said in a statement Thursday that Congress needs to "provide clear tax rules, with a strong small business exemption". While Amazon and other large online retailers regularly collect sales taxes on purchases, many others have refused to do so.

isis-killer-beheading-video-story-top French Grand Prix: Lewis Hamilton reveals delight at England hammering of Panama
Jun 25, 2018 - 06:52
Vettel had to stop for a new front wing following the crash with Bottas, while the Mercedes driver suffered a puncture. There was drama at the start as Hamilton and Bottas lined up on the front row with Vettel just behind in third.