Belgium beats England to top spot with Januzaj strike

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Belgium defeated England, 1-0, to win Group G on the final day of the group stage at the 2018 World Cup.

Other key players such as defenders Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen could also be rested, meaning they may miss the chance to go up against club teammate Harry Kane, and England coach Gareth Southgate is sending mixed messages over whether or not the striker, who has scored five goals so far in Russian Federation, will start. "I think we've done everything we can as a group to prepare ourselves".

"He said "look, I know everyone says I want the Golden Boot - of course it's something I want to do - but the main thing is getting the team through the first knockout".

Before Thursday plenty of people were hoping England would finish second and that was with Japan topping their group and Senegal second in Group H. "We saw that in the Euros two years ago".

After crushing Hungary 4-0 in the last 16, Belgians felt they had one hand on the trophy but unfancied Wales had other ideas and sent them packing 3-1in the quarter-final.

England ended the Belgium game without any injury concerns and so will have a fully-fit squad to unleash in the knockout stages.

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Belgium started the better, Jordan Pickford looking nervous early on as he just about beat away a dipping Youri Tielemans effort. "Well played lads!", the Sun newspaper declared as on its front page.

At Euro 2016, finishing second to Italy in their group meant Belgium would avoid meeting Germany, France or defending champions Spain before the final.

England made eight changes to the team who crushed Panama 6-1but the uninspiring performance against Belgium highlighted that their options on the bench are not as rich as believed. "He wants to contribute to a winning team and he knows it is not as satisfying if you are a player scoring goals and the team does not win", Southgate told Talksport on Tuesday.

"We've at times had a squad with real top players and at times we've had a squad with not such outstanding players who've been in those knockout situations".

Delph on on Dad-duty England midfielder Fabian Delph is returning home temporarily from the World Cup because his wife is due to give birth to their third child.

The flags of St George were flying all around on Thursday evening but that didn't help Gareth Southgate's men as they lost 1-0 to Belgium but it isn't all bad news as the draw now proves.

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