Belgium beat England 1-0, win Group G

Jo Caldwell
July 1, 2018

Southgate opted to rest eight players for England's final Group G fixture, with a 1-0 defeat to Adnan Januzaj's stunning strike seeing the Three Lions finish second in the pool.

England will have a reminder of their painful loss to Iceland when they face Belgium after Slovenia referee Damir Skomina was appointed for Thursday's World Cup clash.

Belgium's win doesn't come without benefit - the team will matchup against Japan in its first match of the knockout round, while England will be facing off against Colombia, likely a more hard draw en route in the round of 16.

"I don't think mentally we lose anything because they know we've made changes and they know Belgium weren't their full team as well. But what that means for the next round, we don't really know", said Southgate.

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Avoiding questions about Brazil lying in wait after the Japan game, Martinez stressed that his focus was on Monday and on his players continuing to enjoy their football. "I think the supporters know what the most important thing is", said Southgate.

"We created openings to get something from the game, but we have to keep improving".

It was only Belgium's second ever win over England and their first since 1936 and coach Roberto Martinez suggested he was not anxious about the impact of the result on his team's possible future opponents.

The match was far less dramatic than the day's earlier games, but the outcome still had consequences that could affect both teams as they look to continue their World Cup runs into the knockout round.

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

And Southgate, who has faced criticism for his weakened team against Belgium, is unconcerned about the pressure he is under at Russian Federation 2018 following his team selection, with Group G winners Belgium earning a tie against Japan.

However, the one real moment of magic came on 51 minutes, with ex-Manchester United and Sunderland winger Januzaj jinking inside Danny Roase before producing an exquisite curling finish. Striker Marcus Rashford had the best chance but his shot was already wide of the target when keeper Thibaut Courtois got his fingertips to the ball.

"On the pitch, we were just thinking of having fun", said 21-year-old attacking midfielder Youri Tielemans, who forced England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford into an excellent save with a long-range effort in the first half.

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