Published: Thu, June 28, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku to recover from injury in time to face England

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku to recover from injury in time to face England

England players can use knowledge of their Belgian club team mates to their advantage ahead of the World Cup Group G top-spot decider in Kaliningrad, midfielder Eric Dier said on Wednesday.

When the World Cup draw was first released, the final game of Group G between England and Belgium looked like a tantalising prospect - two European superpowers facing off in a match that would likely decide the group winners.

"England must prepare and approach this game versus Belgium as if it was a knock out match - top the group and then and only then think about your next opponent".

Of course, that's all assuming England can navigate their way past the last 16 stage; by no means a guarantee with Colombia one of three sides awaiting them alongside Senegal and Japan.

Win every game and keep their momentum intact or lose now to go further in the tournament.

"We´ve not won a knockout game since 2006".

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

Hat-trick man Kane now the top scorer
It is predicted a wave of fans will dash to Russian Federation ahead of England's last group game with Belgium on Thursday in Kalinigrad.

Belgium, managed by Roberto Martinez, and England are expected to rest players as they are both already through to the last 16.

Southgate hinted that he would make some changes to his starting 11 but did not go into specifics.

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. "At that point it was one or the other", the ex-Wigan Athletic and Everton manager added.

"I think the level of the game will be high, higher than perhaps if there are no changes given that both teams are through", he said.

"We want to breed a mentality that everybody in our squad wants to constantly win. There are players who have been in very demanding games so its very important for us to protect and give every player the best opportunity to be in the best condition in the knockout games".

Harry Kane is the competition's top scorer with five goals to his name.

The majority of those who take the field in Thursday's crunch encounter play in the English Premier League and it is for this reason that RT's special guest analyst Jose Mourinho is curious to see who comes out on top when club-mates meet each other in the global arena.

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