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England can use knowledge of teammates to advantage, says Eric Dier

28 June 2018

Even though the Three Lions have already guaranteed their spot in the last 16, defender Gary Cahill insists that the team will be going all out to win the game and show the world what they can expect from England in the knockout stage.

So it would be beneficial for both teams to avoid winning the group to end up in the easier side of the draw.

The Belgium coach is taking this game very seriously, but he intends to make the most of his team's early qualification by giving a few starters a breather and allowing his fringe players more time on the pitch.

Despite a huge scare for Lionel Messi's Argentina, who needed a late goal from Marcos Rojo to edge through to the knockout phase on Tuesday, all of the tournament's remaining big guns are through to the last 16 in Russian Federation.

England's Eric Dier and England manager Gareth Southgate during training.

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

"We've not won a knockout game since 2006".

"I think we can go all the way, I genuinely do", Lampard told the BBC's World Cup Daily Podcast.

This half of the draw could see England line up against four of the top seven sides in the world according to the latest Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings - and the Three Lions have lost to Brazil, Uruguay, Portugal, France and Argentina (England also beat Argentina in 2002) at major tournaments in the last 20 years.

The majority of those who take the field in Thursday's crunch encounter play in the English Premier League and it is for this reason that RT's special guest analyst Jose Mourinho is curious to see who comes out on top when club-mates meet each other in the global arena.

Southgate hinted that he would make some changes to his starting 11 but did not go into specifics.

England face Belgium in Kaliningrad on Thursday with both teams having already secured a place in the round of 16, but Southgate admits that Germany's fate is a timely reminder of what can happen if anything is taken for granted.

Unlike Southgate, the former Everton and Wigan manager said he was approaching Thursday's game with one eye firmly on the knockout rounds.

"We want to perform well but I think the priority is not to win", he said. "The reality is we put ourselves in this situation we wanted to qualify, and we have done that".

"With Romelu Lukaku we had very good news on the scan".

Ahead of the tournament, there was little fanfare around England - a change from previous competitions where pundits at home believed that they should be genuine contenders.

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.

England can use knowledge of teammates to advantage, says Eric Dier