Why neither top team wanted to win this World Cup group

ENGLAND WAGS

"I think it will be an interesting game, a 50-50 game, and both teams are qualified so it will be a odd game", said Fellaini, who plays in England for Manchester United, having made his name for another Premier League club Everton.

By contrast, should the victor of Group G get past the round of 16, they could meet Brazil in the quarterfinals, with France, Argentina, Portugal and Uruguay among the possible semifinal opponents. But then this is a slightly freakish scenario for all involved: where finishing second in Group G could offer a more favourable run to the semi-finals. "Most people are seeing it as a win due to who England could now face on the road to the final".

Meanwhile, with its loss, England projects to have an easier path to the final, with Spain and Switzerland looking like the biggest threats standing between the Three Lions and a shot at World Cup glory. "Colombians had bought up 75 per cent of the tickets, filling the place with a Latin American rhythm and an unceasing broiling racket, which reached a crescendo when they took the lead late in the second half".

Belgium and England have each played three games at this World Cup, combining for five wins, and we still don't know all that much about either of them.

Belgium beat England to top spot in their World Cup group on Thursday after Japan sneaked into the knockout phase on the back of their superior disciplinary record. We're very clear about where we are as a team, and we'll continue to work to get better.

But by making the changes to his team and resting the likes of Harry Kane, Jesse Lingard and Raheem Sterling, Southgate has made his bed and he now has to lie in it.

Not only that, the Colombians have pedigree after a run to the quarterfinal stage at the 2014 World Cup on the back of some stunning performances from their star man James Rodriguez.




The Red Devils are unbeaten in their previous 11 World Cup Group matches.

The victor on Thursday will become only the third team, along with Croatia and Uruguay, to win all three group games.

"We need to keep winning football matches and we want to breed a mentality that everybody in our squad wants to constantly win", said the manager, who has created a relaxed atmosphere for his young charges.

As expected they used their squads to the full - Martinez switching nine players and Southgate bringing in eight, a decision he described as a "no brainer" in the circumstances.

So with both teams even on goal difference and goals scored going into the game, they had an improbable choice to make.

The last-16 ties start on Saturday, with France taking on Argentina in Kazan and Uruguay facing Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal in Sochi. Spain is better still, so expect the host's Cup challenge to come to an end.

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