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No, after you: Why England and Belgium may want to be second

No, after you: Why England and Belgium may want to be second

No, after you: Why England and Belgium may want to be second

Cape Town - Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku remains a doubt for their Soccer World Cup game against England after missing training on Tuesday.

"And I knew that my record with Middlesbrough, even though for me what I achieved with them in the first two years was better than anything I've done in the last couple of weeks, I knew that's held against you as a manager".

More than that, Germany's final position as the wooden-spoon team in Group F - their worst performance at a major tournament since Franz Beckenbauer accused them of "tired, junk football" at Euro 2000 - validates Southgate's views about the practicalities of trying to plot a route through the tournament and why, specifically, his policy all the way along has been that "you can't take anything for granted".

"Not many players score a hat trick in the World Cup, so I'm extremely proud of that", he said. Yet a troubled start for Germany means the Group G victor risks coming across either the defending champions or a feared Brazil earlier in the knockout rounds.

"We just have to decide whether to put him back in or whether it is more beneficial for him to have a slower build up". "Indirectly, they've had a big bearing on what we're doing now".

The Three Lions take on Belgium in Kaliningrad on Thursday evening (Friday morning AEST), with both teams already assured of their place in the last 16 after taking six points from six in Group G. "But I am sure we can get that right".

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Both teams are already through to the knockout stages, with the victor of their clash progressing as group winners.

The North American outfit cunningly tried to get themselves back into it in ludicrous fashion with every England outfield star inside the opposition half celebrating Harry Kane's penalty goal.

Both teams would like to iron out these glitches before they get into the really serious business against much stronger sides.

It's the question on the lips of every England fan - is it better to lose to Belgium on Thursday night?

"We think that we need to keep winning football matches and we want to breed a mentality where everyone in our squad wants to constantly win", he told a pre-match news conference.

"We're always talking with our players about discipline on the pitch, avoiding giving away unnecessary free-kicks".

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