By Paul Giblin MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua)
-- England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford
has no doubts that England should go all out to defeat Belgium
in their final Group G game in the 2018 World Cup final even
though it could cost them a more difficult route to the final.
England and Belgium
are both assured of their places in the last 16 and will face
either Senegal, Japan or Colombia, but while the side that
finishes second in the group could them be in line for a
possible quarter-final against Mexico or Switzerland, the group
winner could have to play Germany or Brazil in the last eight.
That has sparked
speculation that both sides will rest key players when they meet
on Thursday, but Pickford believes whoever starts, England will
try to win.
“Our mentality is to
try and win every game. We can’t be looking at what lies ahead,”
he said, commenting that good results build confidence for the
“I feel that if we
keep on winning then it helps us build up momentum in the
Belgium has several
key players such as Kevin de Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku ad Eden
Hazzard playing in England and the two sides hold no secrets
from each other.
“We know Belgium are
top opponents and we have to be at our best to win,” he said.
training for Belgium on Tuesday as the result of a knock he
picked up as he scored two goals in their 5-2 thrashing of
Tunisia in their last group game, while Hazzard missed Monday’s
session with a slight knock and both are expected to be rested
Pickford said that
if Belgium didn’t field their strongest side, “it will make my
job easier,” but he has confidence England can win whoever they
“Our defense is very
strong and we have huge ability throughout the team,” he
Belgium: To win or not to win?
MOSCOW Russia (Xinhua) --
To win or not to win? That is the question that
both England coach Gareth Southgate and his Belgian counterpart
Roberto Martinez are probably asking themselves right now as the
draw for the next stages of the World Cup opens up ahead of
England and Belgium
are already assured of a place in the last 16 of the World Cup
after impressive wins over Tunisia and Panama. The European
heavyweights will face each other in their final Group G game,
with a tie against Senegal, Colombia or Japan waiting in the
All three possible
rivals present a difficult challenge, although not an
insurmountable one, but if you look beyond the last 16 the
panorama changes drastically. The way things stand the winners
of Group G would (if they get through to the last 16) have a
quarterfinal against either Brazil or Germany, with Mexico or
Switzerland awaiting the side that finishes second.
Both the Mexicans
and the Swiss have impressed and the Germans and Brazilians are
having disappointing World Cups by their high standards. That
being said, England and Belgium would probably prefer a
quarterfinal against Mexico or Switzerland rather than the
defending champions or the World Cup’s most successful team.
“Everyone wants to
look at a possible pathway,” Martinez said on Monday, before
adding, “I don’t think as a professional you can go on a pitch
not wanting to win.” Southgate echoed that sentiment. “I don’t
know how we would go into a game not wanting to win and play
well, so I think that’s dangerous territory if we start trying
to plot and predict where we might end up,” the England coach
“We want to win
every game of football we go into,” he added, reminding people
not to get overconfident after their two opening wins. At Euro
2016 England thought they had a favorable draw in the last 16
but lost 2-1 to Iceland.
“We had a really
favorable draw, we all thought, in the last tournament and it
didn’t work out that way... We just have to keep playing as well
as we can, keep preparing the team the right way, keep the
momentum,” he concluded.
If the game between
England and Belgium ends in a draw, fair play would decide which
of the two ends up as the winner of the group.