Germany exit shows anyone is vulnerable England manager Gareth Southgate

Adjust Comment Print

Thursday's Group G clash with England is another chance to reignite his personal goalscoring duel with Harry Kane, as the England captain has hit 5 goals already at the mundial following his hat-trick against Panama.

Once England swat aside whichever Group H opponent they face in the second round, thoughts will turn to the quarter-finals - and this is where it gets interesting in relation to the group stages.

Both sides have qualified from Group G, with top spot still at stake.

Rashford is yet to start for England at the World Cup despite scoring in the Three Lions' final warm-up friendly against Costa Rica.

He has not only become the highest scoring player in worldwide competitions for Belgium, but also the first player since some guy named Diego Maradona in 1986 to register consecutive multiple-goal games in World Cup. It's not every time you go through after two games, so we're happy with that. But it wasn't what I wanted to do.

"I believe in every player on this squad, so it would be quite stupid for me not to believe in these players for tomorrow", Martinez declared. The most important thing is always winning games, and if my goals help my team win then that's the flawless situation. "In sport and in life you have to keep evolving", was Southgate's take.

Uncertainty for Erdoğan as Turkey awaits election results
Ballots for Turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections are pictured at a polling station in Yalova, Turkey June 24, 2018. If a candidate wins just over 50 percent of the vote, he will win the presidency, but if not, there will be a runoff on July 8.

Germany and Brazil's struggles mean qualifying in second could actually yield a more favourable knockout path on paper, but Kane was dismissive of the notion that England will do anything other than try to make it three wins from three against Belgium. "We've not won a knockout game since 2006", he said.

What is likely, however, is that Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and his English counterpart Gareth Southgate will rest some of their regular starters and give match time to back-up squad players.

Southgate added that he will heavily consider his team selection in the coming days, and has been boosted by Dele Alli's return to training.

"My inherent nature is that I like people to feel included and to be part of what we're doing, and they all are", Southgate said, having watched from the bench in 2002. "I have complete trust in all the players". "I don't think he will be training today, and we will make a final assessment tonight".

Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent.