Why England should lose to Belgium and land dream World Cup draw

Lynette Rowe
June 28, 2018

The scenario remains as many had predicted, but when the two sides meet at Kaliningrad Stadium tomorrow morning, the world will be watching for a different reason.

If England and Belgium draw the match, the group winners will be decided by their fair play record - with the Three Lions now on one fewer yellow card.

Should England top Group G, they would take on Colombia in the knockout stages as it stands and enter a half of the draw which is set to include Brazil, Portugal, Argentina and France.

Both teams have beaten Tunisia and Panama to reach six points and secure passage to the last 16, so the anticipated battle between the two strongest sides in the group has lost its edge.

Germany needed to match or better Sweden's result to go through to the last 16 but conceded two late goals against South Korea while the Scandinavians emerged 3-0 winners over Mexico.

"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". If that is tied, then the victor will be decided by a coin toss.

The England boss kept his cards close to his chest, only confirming that Eric Dier would make his first World Cup start.

He said: "We have not won a knockout game since 2006".

"We have qualified and that was the priority", Martínez told the media.

"But I think it's the same like Belgium they have a great attack and then the defence there might be some weakness".

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"We want to win the game".

"That's the reality. We wanted to qualify, we've done that".

"There are players on yellow cards".

"We are building a team that are passionate to play for England, they want to win every time they go out and are improving all the time, and I think we'll see that again". Players have been in very demanding games.

Unlike Southgate, the former Everton and Wigan manager said he was approaching Thursday's game with one eye firmly on the knockout rounds.

If you perform well in this game, you never know.

Does the concept of "winning the right way" even matter in this amoral era of capitalism - when the line between right and wrong is usually determined by the bottom line?

Football can also be an individual sport, and one of the most prestigious individual honours in world football is the World Cup golden boot (the player with the most goals at the end of the tournament).

The last time England and Belgium met at a World Cup, David Platt volleyed a famous extra-time victor to send Bobby Robson's side into the quarter-finals if Italia 90.

"So I felt then that I had to make sure that if there are opportunities in life you have got to go for it". If the game ends in a draw, fair-play points will decide Group G's victor.

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