Southgate: Germany's exit has no bearing on England

Adjust Comment Print

England and Belgium face a World Cup conundrum ahead of Thursday's crunch in Kaliningrad - is it better to finish second rather than win Group G? Against a defence as porous as Panama's has proved in their first two games of the tournament, he could well add to that tally.

"I don't think he will be training on Wednesday, and I think we will make a final assessment tonight in order for him to be involved or not. At this moment my thoughts are with the players who haven't played as much, but I have to consider everything before I decide upon my team".

"The reality now is that we are qualified and in a tournament like the World Cup you're only as good as the 23 players in your squad".

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.

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.

Senegal drawing 1-1 with Japan at halftime
The Panamanians will compete hard but eventually England should break them down and secure qualification for the knockout stages. The teams enter Saturday's match in Yekaterinburg coming off surprising 2-1 wins - Japan over Colombia and Senegal over Poland .

Harry Kane's hat trick spurred England to a 6-1 victory over Panama, securing the Three Lions' place in the round of 16. "So, why we are starting to plot which would be a better venue for our semi-final is beyond me really".

Both Belgium and England have already qualified for the last 16, with the victor to top the group.

Each morning during the tournament we will bring you an overview of what is coming up.

NBCSN, the exclusive US cable TV home of the Premier League, will simulcast in Spanish the FIFA World Cup match between England and Belgium this Thursday, June 28, with live coverage beginning at 1:30 p.m. ET from Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad. We're building a team that everyone back home can see are passionate to play for England, want to win every time they go out, and are improving every time. We were watching Argentina last night, Portugal and Spain the evening before, and one decision at one end of the pitch, and a decision within two minutes. the situation in the group changed completely.

"It would be risky and a real gamble to play any of the players who have yellow cards because you don't want a player missing in the knock-out stage", he said.