England v Belgium: Will Harry Kane start in the 'Golden Boot play-off'?

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England v Belgium: Will Harry Kane start in the 'Golden Boot play-off'?

Having previously contested the match no team wanted to win, Belgium and England squared up in the contest neither side wanted to play.

"It's all about that achievement".

Roberto Martinez's men just about shaded the game against Gareth Southgate's men, in an encounter that understandably at times had the feel of a pre-season friendly.

"It's not a game any team wants to play", said England manager Gareth Southgate. Belgium displayed a strong will to finish third for the first time in their history and their desire was rewarded with a prestigious second win in two matches over England in Russian Federation.

"Today shows there's room for improvement".

"We've set the standard of how we work, the standard of how we play, and we want to maintain those standards right to the end". "We don't want to wait another 20-odd years to get into another major semifinal".

"We are very realistic about the level we are", he said.

It was a marauding, devastating counter attack of the same vintage that felled Brazil in their quarter-final encounter, culminating in a pinpoint cross from Nacer Chadli converted by Thomas Meunier.

It's time for everyone's least favourite World Cup match: the third-place playoffs. While Loftus-Cheek was decent, Delph did nothing of note and Dier struggled in midfield against Tielemans and Kevin De Bruyne.

The Belgians could easily have scored more, with Pickford making a good save to stop a shot from De Bruyne in the 11th and Alderweireld volleying narrowly over the bar in the 35th.

Like the group stage meeting between the two sides though, Belgium should have just enough to outclass England, with Harry Kane's likely Golden Boot win a consolation prize for the Three Lions.

It desperately needed changing and the introduction of Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford at the break added fresh life.

Toby Alderweireld was forced to clear an Eric Dier effort off his line at full stretch after a neat exchange between the Tottenham midfielder and Rashford ended with a chip over Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois.

Twice De Bruyne split England's defence with eye-of-the-needle passes to put Lukaku through on goal, and twice the Manchester United striker failed to get the ball under control.

England matched its best World Cup result - fourth in 1990 - since winning the tournament for the only time in 1966. Their previous best was a fourth-place finish in 1986 when they lost to France in this round.

"I'm proud of what the players have done, today was always going to be a really hard game". But it did give us all a smile or two as Southgate's likable team made an improbable run to the semis and for a week or so, made a nation believe.

"I think there is a clarity about how England have been successful in this tournament". A present for our fans.

Southgate says his selection will be based primarily on the fitness of individual players suggesting he will resist the temptation to give some fringe players a run-out.

Losses to France and Croatia, respectively, have led the two sides here and though each would love to be trying to obtain further glory this Sunday, neither have the desire to underperform in this consolatory match.

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