Belgium beats England 1-0, moves into tougher side of draw

Belgium beats England 1-0, moves into tougher side of draw

When finally the nation woke from 24 hours of celebrating sweet German incompetence, it saw its team defeated by Belgium B and cast into the half of the draw mostly populated by nations with a record as mediocre as England's own in recent years.

While Marcus Rashford's eagerly awaited debut in a World Cup finals tournament turned into an evening of frustration, Adnan Januzaj found himself the unlikely toast of Belgium. England play Belgium in a group G match Thursday, in Kaliningrad.

"It was a hard game for us, our first real test, and we'll take a lot away from it".

Youri Tielemans was shown a yellow card for a cynical challenge on Danny Rose, but England was unable to make the most of a set piece in prime attacking territory.

Add to that England and Belgium's bad records in the knockout stages.

Both teams have qualified for the last 16 and the match will decide who tops the group.

By winning the match and thus the group, Belgium moves to the "side of death" for the knockout round, where four of the top five teams in the world according to Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings - Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, and Argentina - will all compete for one spot in the final.

And yet on Thursday night he started for England at the World Cup, a month after starting the Champions League final for Liverpool.

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy is handed his first start of the World Cup, in place of Kane, who has five goals to his name already.

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"We have no idea who, when or where we will play in the next round, but we are pleased we are in it".

It's not the end of the World Cup journey, though, as we finished as runner-up in the group stages, and are through to the knockout stages.

"We need to look at ourselves, we are a stronger group than we were before the game".

England coach Gareth Southgate could barely contain his delight in finding himself on the less challenging side of the draw.

"We don't like to lose, but tonight there were other factors that were more important", Southgate said. Belgium, reputedly keen to finish second to avoid that potential clash with Brazil, stepped up a gear in the second half though, breaking the deadlock through Januzaj.

Skomina was also in charge of Belgium's Euro 2016 quarter-final loss to Wales when he dished out a total of six yellow cards.

"This was a game we wanted to win but the knock-out game is the biggest game for a decade so needed to make sure our key players were reserved", the manager said to ITV .

They play Japan in the last 16 with the winners of that tie facing a tricky quarter-final against Brazil or Mexico.

"We are delighted to be in the next round, [the Belgium] game is the one we are focused on and we want to win the group". Then, on 32 minutes, another good chance from a corner went begging, when Ruben Loftus-Cheek, in plenty of space having evaded his marker, headed wide at the far-post.

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