England changes justified despite Belgium defeat, insists Southgate

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Their battle in Kaliningrad follows the dramatic exit of Joachim Loew's 2014 winners, who finished rock bottom of their group after a 2-0 defeat to South Korea, the final humiliation after a title defence that never caught fire.

- Knockouts - Despite a huge scare for Lionel Messi's Argentina, who needed a late goal from Marcos Rojo to edge through to the knockout phase, all of the tournament's other big guns are through to the last 16 in Russian Federation.

"Sometimes I think you have to look bigger picture and make decisions that might in some cases be criticised but everyone understands in the dressing room what we're trying to do", he said.

"We all want to win the game, and afterwards we'll shake hands and it'll be how it always is".

Indeed, Martinez said before the match that Belgium's priority was not to win, suggesting he would choose a deliberately weaker starting line-up in the hope of missing out on the top of the pile.

Finishing runners-up in Group G would mean a last-16 tie against Group H winners Colombia, who beat Senegal 1-0 in their final group game on Thursday to finish with six points from their three games. Eden Hazard, Lukaku and Dries Mertens will certainly be absent.

Belgium's Adnan Januzaj scores the opening goal during the group G match between England and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the Kaliningrad Stadium in Kaliningrad, Russia, Thursday, June 28, 2018.

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Before the game, Gareth Southgate, wouldn't be drawn on how many changes we will be making heading into this game.

Southgate has revealed that he has received messages of backing from Beckham who will be in the stands to watch England take on on Roberto Martinez' side. "At that point it was one or the other", the ex-Wigan Athletic and Everton manager added.

"People will say that will only be the right decision if we win but it was the right decision because we could potentially be going into another match that could go into extra time and risking players we didn't need to risk". Our objective was to qualify from the group and we have done that.

If the two teams were level on yellow cards at the end of the game then they would draw straws to decide first and second, but Belgium's yellow-card count denied us all that novelty.

Japan coach Akira Nishino has warned his players against complacency when they meet the already eliminated Poles.

Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele play for Belgium while Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane are in England's squad.

"Tomorrow is a good opportunity for us to grow".

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