Why neither top team wanted to win this World Cup group

Kristopher Nichols
June 30, 2018

The 32-year-old sees no reason the loss against Belgium, in which England captain Harry Kane was left on the bench, should put the Three Lions off course.

England would have finished at the summit had they held on for a draw, but they now face a last-16 tie against Colombia, whereas opponents Belgium take on Group H runners-up Japan.

The last time England and Belgium met at a World Cup, David Platt volleyed a famous extra-time victor to send Bobby Robson's side into the quarter-finals if Italia 90.

Below are more details on the broadcast, which will be aired in Spanish and will begin at 1:30 p.m. ET.

Former England defender Gary Neville told ESPN FC recently that the successful teams in major tournaments are often the most resilient rather than the best and England and Belgium have an advantage in terms of resilience because their energy levels should be higher than virtually everyone else's.

Loew, who led his side to glory against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final in Brazil, refused to be drawn on his future in the immediate aftermath of Wednesday´s result. The match will also be livestreamed in Spanish on TelemundoDeportes.com and via the Telemundo Deportes En Vivo and NBC Sports apps.

What if England needed all three points on Thursday? Although Southgate has stated his intention to win tonight's game against Belgium and take what comes, Belgium's Roberto Martinez had a decidedly more realistic outlook.

"We had to make big medical calls when announcing the group: now, Thomas Vermaelen looks like he's never been away, Vincent Kompany played 20 minutes in a competitive game, we've seen a team cope really well with the dead-ball threat of England, and every player, Thorgan Hazard playing a different position, Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj showing why he's in the squad, it's a big amount of positives". I go back to the fact we're trying to develop a winning mentality.

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"That's not being arrogant, that's not being ignorant - we could lose against Colombia on Tuesday, there's no doubt - but if you think back to 1990 where we had Cameroon and then Belgium to get to a World Cup semi-final, we've now got an opportunity to play Colombia and Sweden or Switzerland to get to a World Cup semi-final".

England ended up with the potentially more hard match in the round of 16, even though the country's national team hasn't won a knockout-stage game at any tournament since 2006. "We should now be the most positive we've ever been", he said.

"But Belgium are miles better than the other teams we've played so perhaps it's been a bit of a wake-up call for the players".

"We want to win football matches so not happy to have been beaten, but what it means for the next rounds we don´t know". What we have to do is prepare for a thrilling knockout game.

Neither side has had the best of tournaments, but both have a game - Uruguay's resounding defeat of Russian Federation and Portugal's draw with Spain - that shows they can contend with anyone.

"Today we had an equal game, and both teams had chances". The first defeat of their World Cup campaign.

As expected both managers used their squads to the full - Martinez switching nine players and Southgate bringing in eight from his reserves, a decision he had described as a "no brainer" in the circumstances.

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