After a record win at the FIFA World Cup, whisper it quietly but it might just be coming home. The quality of football was impressive, though naturally it’s better to play it cool than to be too excited. Panama are among the three worst sides in Russia, but what a confidence a 6-1 win and a 2-1 last minute victory could give England.
Can Belgium burst the bubble?
Not a huge deal of news coming out of the England camp after the Panama win other than buoyancy. 5-goal Harry Kane will surely start, though we could see Gareth Southgate give a few of his more expendable squad members a shift here.
For England, the aim is always the same: get a result. With such a high-flying Belgian midfield, we’ll likely see Jordan Henderson start again after a tremendous game against Panama. We’ll also likely see the impressive Jesse Lingard keep his place in the middle of the pitch, after the #7 was so impressive against Panama – including one of the goals of the tournament so far.
The Red Devils handed out a shellacking of their own, taking a Tunisia side who looked much better than Panama to the cleaners. Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard both scored two, though the former is a doubt for this one.
We expect Belgium to push for first place in the group, even with all the ideas that finishing second might actually be the better option for either of these sides.
A hard fought but extremely enjoyable draw awaits, we think. This will be a good tie, though both teams will naturally hold back a little with their Knockout place secured. Expect this to be free flowing and exciting, with both sides creating plenty of scoring chances.