World Cup 2018: England v Belgium

The group stages conclude as Gareth Southgate's side bid for top spot and a last-16 clash with Japan

Patrick Madden Thu, Jun 28
 
LIVE: World Cup 2018: England v Belgium

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  • Good evening!

    Welcome to our coverage of England's final game against Belgium in Kaliningrad (kick-off 7.0).

    Heading into the World Cup this fixture was circled as having the potential to be one of the games of the tournament - one side fancied by many to go all the way, another looking to make a statement, and plenty of familiar faces thrown in.

    However, with both teams having already qualified after making light work of Panama and Tunisia, there is now less resting on tonight's fixture - with both managers making a raft of changes.

    That said, momentum is key in tournament football. England played with a zest for life in their 6-1 in over Panama they haven't displayed for years. A victory over the Red Devils tonight would ensure the feel-good factor surrounding their national team remains.

    We'll be bringing you all of the action from Kaliningrad (as well as keeping you up to date with the big one in Saransk between Panama and Tunisia), as the the group stages of this thrilling World Cup reach their conclusion.

    Come on!!!

  • TEAM NEWS:

    England: Pickford, Alexander-Arnold, Stones, Cahill, Jones, Rose, Dier, Delph, Loftus-Cheek, Rashford, Vardy.

    Belgium: Courtois, Dendoncker, Boyata, Vermaelen, Chadli, Dembélé, Fellaini, Tielemans, T. Hazard, Januzaj, Batshuayi.

  • Gareth Southgate has made eight changes, Roberto Martinez has trumped him with nine.

    Jordan Pickford, John Stones and Ruben Loftus-Cheek survive for England, Thibaut  Courtois and  Dedryck Boyata retained by Belgium.

  • We now know the identity of the 16 teams in the knockout stages - the only thing left to decide is who tops Group G. Both sides have won two games having scored eight and conceded two - a draw would mean the group is decided by which team has a disciplinary record. England currently have two yellow cards to Belgium's three.

  • The reward for winning the group is a last-16 clash with Japan, and then a potential quarter-final against Brazil. The runners-up will play Colombia in the next round with Sweden and Switzerland potenial last-eight opponents.

    The latter is arguably an easier route to the semi-finals and final - which has led to the ludicrous suggestion it might be a better idea to lose tonight than to win. Granted, losing wouldn't be the end of the world but it could be terminal - particularly for England - to risk losing their momentum.

  • Roberto Martinez has reportedly said: "We want to perform well but the priority is not to win."

    Hmmmm.

  • 10 mins until kick-off in Kaliningrad!
  • Marcus Rashford and Jamie Vardy is an exciting partnership up front for England. Expect them to soak up pressure and look to shred the Belgians on the break.
  • The teams are out of the tunnel!
  • Here we go then. England in white, Belgium in red.

    BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!

  • 1 min: Long ball towards Vardy who knocks it down to Rashford, who asks too much of Vardy with the return ball.
  • 2 min: Poor back pass from Belgium on the right and Vardy races onto it, but can't pick Rashford out in the middle. An ugly clearance form Courtois sees Belgium escape.
  • 4 min: Nice dummy from Rashford and he races onto a return ball from Delph but it's turned behind. Flag was up.
  • 6 min: Yikes. Tielemans takes a touch and unleashes a dipping shot which Pickford fists away from underneath the bar. His parry is back into the area but to a white shirt.
  • 9 min: Vardy and Rashford both chase after a long ball which scoots through to Courtois. In the embryonic stages but that looks like England's best outlet.
  • 10 min: Chance for Belgium. A ball is dinked to the back post where Fellaini heads back across the six yard box towards Batshuayi. Pickford looks to have it under control but the ball squirms free and towards the line, where Cahill hooks it clear.
  • 10 MIN: ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 0
  • 11 min: First corner for England on the right - Loftus-Cheek swings it in and Fellaini heads it clear. Rashford then tries his luck from distance - nice strike and it's deflected behind for another corner. Cahill is then penalised at the back stick.
  • 13 min: Alexander-Arnold chases a Stones ball down the right and hooks in a brilliant first-time cross - Vardy can't direct his header on target.
  • 15 min: Very steady pace here now. It's not quite Denmark v France but its not exactly a thriller.
  • 17 min: England look to break after a trademark Phil Jones tackle on Dembele - free-kick Belgium. Tielemans skips away from Dier but can't thread the ball into the box.

  • 18 min: England break through Loftus-Cheek who is rugby tackled by Fellaini - escapes what could have been a crucial yellow card.
  • 19 min: Rose does well to dispossess Januzaj and then he skins Tielemans who brings him down... and gets booked! Belgium now 4-2 on yellow cards.

    Alexander-Arnold whips the ball in and Dembele heads it away smartly.

  • 20 MIN: ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 0
  • 22 min: It's also goalless in the other group game between Panama and Tunisia. I wonder how many people are watching that one...
  • 24 min: Keep ball for Belgium but they aren't making much impression on the final third.  
  • 26 min: Batshuayi does well and then runs at Stones but the defender covers well and turns it behind for a corner. It's a good delivery and Fellaini takes a touch before shooting - it's a tame effort but Alexander-Arnold turns it away on the post. It falls for Januzaj and Delph does well not to commit the foul before Jones cleans up.
  • 30 MIN: ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 0
  • 31 min: Alexander-Arnold overcooks a cross from the right and it nearly catches Courtois out who was well off his line.
  • 33 min: Searching ball down the left for Rose and he gets there ahead of Dendoncker and draws the foul. Alexander-Arnold is over the free-kick in a dangerous spot - his low delivery is turned behind for a corner. Better delivery second time round - Loftus-Cheek heads just wide.

  • 33 min: Panama 1 Tunisia 0  
  • 35 min: Januzaj takes a touch and drags a shot well wide but earns a corner. Boyata flicks it on but England clear.
  • 37 min: Brief danger for England as Fellaini lays the ball off to Batshuayi on the edge. It falls for Hazard (Thorgan) who curls a shot miles over.
  • 40 MIN: ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 0
  • 40 min: Hazard lines up a volley from a deep Chadli cross but skews it back across goal. Rose clears up.
  • 41 min: Rose releases Delph on the left and he crosses towards Vardy. It's headed clear to Loftus-Cheek on the edge but he opts not to shoot - instead his touch is poor and he loses possession.
  • 45 min: Alexander-Arnold with a corner from the right - turned away at the near post.
  • HT: ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 0 (ENGLAND ARE WINNING 2-5 ON YELLOW CARDS)
  • The teams are back out for the second half! Hopefully things pick up but I can't see it...

    We're back underway!

  • 46 min: One change for England at half-time - Harry Maguire on for Stones who his icing his calf on the bench.
  • 47 min: Long period of possession for Belgium, but they're not really going anywhere. Good play from Vardy to win the ball back and it falls for Rashford in the box. He tries to curl it beyond his man and into the far corner but can't get enough whip on it.
  • 49 min: Electric from Rashford, beating three men on the left but it just runs away from him in the box and he is penalised for a foul on Dendoncker. Up the other end there's a chance for Belgium but Maguire picks off Tielemans' pass.
  • GOOOAAAAALLLLLL!!!

    ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 1 (JANUZAJ 51 MIN)

  • What a goal. Januzaj has the ball in the England box and shifts it onto his left before curling one into the top left corner. Poor from Rose who showed him inside.

    52 MIN: ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 1

  • 53 min: Good bursts from Loftus-Cheek and he's fouled in a dangeorus position - Alexander-Arnold hits the wall.
  • Equaliser in Saransk. 53 min: Panama 1 Tunisia 1
  • 55 min: Belgium break again after good play from Hazard but this time Januzaj is well tackled by Maguire.
  • 57 min: Break in play after a clash of heads between Vermaelen and Vardy.
  • 60 MIN: ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 1
  • 61 min: Excellent surge down the right from Loftus-Cheek and he clips it back from the byline but Courtois palms it clear.
  • 62 min: Another burst from Loftus-Cheek but he slows it down and shifts it wide to Alexander-Arnold, whose cross is poor.
  • 66 min: Golden chance for Marcus Rashford. He makes an excellent run and is through one on one but puts his effort beyond the far post. Courtois got a touch on it but he should have scored.
  • 70 MIN: ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 1
  • 72 min: Januzaj swings in a free-kick from the left which Dier heads clear. Weird end to the game here, as though neither side is particularly fussed what the final result is.
  • 74 min: Change for Belgium - Vincent Kompany replaces Vermaelen.
  • 75 min: England free-kick out on the left, Alexander-Arnold to take. He aims for Maguire at the back post but his header is easy for Courtois.
  • 78 min: Change for England, Danny Welbeck on for Alexander-Arnold. Presumably a change in system but looks like Rashford is going to right wingback. Jose Mourinho would approve.
  • 80 MIN: ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 1
  • 81 min: Free-kick in the inside-right channel for England. Rashford takes and gets good whip on it but can't get it up and down in time.
  • 82 min: Good ball from Maguire to Rose who scampers to the byline and earns a corner, Dendoncker coming across. Chance! Great delivery form Rashford and Courtois flaps at it. It falls for Welbeck whose low effort is turned away by Fellaini.
  • 86 min: A Belgian change - Dries Mertens on for goalscorer Januzaj.
  • 87 min: Rose barged over by Dendoncker by the left corner flag - Rose takes it quickly to Welbeck who tries to turn it past Courtois at the near post but gets too much purchase on it, sending it for a goal kick.
  • 88 min: Belgium work it well on the edge and Mertens fizzes a shot towards the left corner which Pickford, again, fists back towards danger. He should be turning those out of harm's way.
  • 91 min: There's bedlam in the England box after good play persistence from Batshuayi, with Jones and Pickford both making a hash of things with Fellaini hacking at the ball.

    Moments later Belgium break down the left and Fellaini rifles his effort into the side netting.

  • FT: ENGLAND 0 BELGIUM 1  
  • LAST-16:

    URUGUAY V PORTUGAL
    FRANCE V ARGENTINA
    BRAZIL V MEXICO
    BELGIUM V JAPAN
    SPAIN V RUSSIA
    CROATIA V DENMARK
    SWEDEN V SWITZERLAND
    COLOMBIA V ENGLAND

  • Right, thanks for joining tonight. Tomorrow there's no game. A brief glimpse into the haunting reality of the desolate post-World Cup world which awaits us from July 16th.

    See you on Saturday!