England, Belgium battle for top spot after Germany World Cup shock

England, Belgium battle for top spot after Germany World Cup shock

England, Belgium battle for top spot after Germany World Cup shock

Dier sat alongside Southgate for Wednesday's press conference and the England manager confirmed that the versatile Spurs man would indeed start for their final group game.

Despite top spot in the group still being up for grabs, though, Southgate said neither he nor his team would be tempted into playing the long game and thinking about who they might face out of Group H when they open up knockout-round play.

Kane has enjoyed a sensational start to the World Cup in Russian Federation, as he has led the line and the team with distinction. Sweden or Switzerland would await in the last eight with one of Spain, Russia, Croatia or Denmark standing between them and a place in the final.

"Either way you're going to have to play them so, if we play them early, that's how it's going to be."

"World Cups are all about momentum", he said.

"We think that we need to keep winning football matches", Southgate said.

FIFA's Code of Conduct says that a team must always play to win.

"We've not won a knockout game since 2006, why we would be starting to plot which would be a better venue for our semi-final is beyond me really".

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England impressed in their opening two World Cup games, beating Tunisia 2-1 in Volgograd and thumping Panama 6-1 in Nizhny Novgorod.

Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Toby Alderweireld are among the Belgium players who are with Premier League clubs.

But the frontman's message fell on deaf ears as Southgate snubbed the request to hand Jamie Vardy his first World Cup start instead.

But Southgate did concede he would probably make some changes for a clash that neither side needs to win.

But Lukaku sustained external ligament damage to his left ankle in the latter 5-2 victory and, although head coach Roberto Martinez reported good news overall on his number nine's progress, he seems set to sit out on Thursday with qualification for the knockout stages already secured.

"That´s the reality. We wanted to qualify, we´ve done that". "As team mates we know each other better than other opposition".

The leading goal scorers at the tournament so far are Harry Kane with five goals for England. Of course, they will knock each other out before the quarter-finals but the Group G toppers will meet either Brazil or Mexico in the quarter-finals.

One player who won't be taking it easy in this one is Vardy, as he'll be desperate to show what he can offer with the knockout stages in mind. They play in the same teams as the English players.

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