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Arsene Wenger will be pleased with Gareth Southgate's plans for Belgium clash

28 June 2018

With progression to the last 16 already secure for England and Belgium it is anticipated both teams will make changes, with finishing second in the group possibly offering an easier path in the knock-out stages.

England and Belgium are locked together with two wins apiece at the top of Group G heading into their final encounter on Friday morning (AEST).

What is likely, however, is that Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and his English counterpart Gareth Southgate will rest some of their regular starters and give match time to back-up squad players.

If England finish as group winners, they will take on the runner-up from Group H before facing the victor of Brazil v Mexico in the quarter-finals.

But the right hand side is favourable to say the least, with Spain and Croatia the two stand out teams. This means that if there's a draw, the victor will be decided by the fairplay score.

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.

If they manage to get over that huge hurdle, they have the intimidating prospect of France, Argentina, Uruguay or Portugal waiting in the semi-final.

"For England to face Brazil in the last eight, it'll be tough".

The players' performance will also be a factor in who wins the golden ball (the tournament's best player).

So perhaps it is premature to think about potential quarter-final opponents before the Round of 16 has been negotiated.

"Because of the next rounds and the opposing teams you are going to meet". "I am trying to develop a winning mentality".

Supporters are expected to turn out in greater numbers for the game in the Russian city of Kaliningrad following impressive wins over Tunisia and Panama. "We have to keep building that belief and building those experiences".

"So I felt then that I had to make sure that if there are opportunities in life you have got to go for it".

Southgate dismissed suggestions that his players would deliberately get themselves booked, although did quip that if he headbutted Roberto Martinez in the final five minutes, he had changed his mind. We want to perform well but the priority is not to win.

"There are players on yellow cards".

"He has always played in every single game but since the start of the competition, we have not seen him".

"But I knew that when somebody needed to step in that I was the best person to do that and keep the team on track and then I actually enjoyed it more than I thought I would".

"We have no idea who, when or where we will play in the next round, but we're pleased we're in the next round".

Arsene Wenger will be pleased with Gareth Southgate's plans for Belgium clash