Belgium beat England to top spot with Januzaj strike


It was the game, and group, that no one wanted to win.

Perhaps Southgate and England will be rewarded with a group of fresh players, eager to go again against Colombia, who have been pushed to the wire in three Group H games and face an anxious wait over the fitness of talisman James Rodriguez, who limped off during the first half of Thursday's crucial 1-0 win against Senegal. Cue the celebrations from the Belgians led by Michy Batshuayi, who picks up the ball, dropped kick it and promptly hits the post and gets smacked right in the face by the rebound.

Belgium hero Adnan Januzaj has said his winning goal in the 1-0 victory against England in Group G - his first global goal - announced his presence to those who had criticized him during his playing career in England.

Having booked their place in the round of sixteen in style with a record-breaking 6-1 win over Panama, England is likely to make some changes ahead of their game against Belgium.

Japan coach Akira Nishino said he was "forced" to tell his players to slow down at the end and not take any risks, despite boos ringing out from spectators.

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Because of a weird quirk of this tournament, it wasn't in either team's interest to actually win.

In fact, it could turn out to be something of a curse.

The two teams have had a relatively stress-free progression from Group G and been able to rotate their squad, but their potential rivals have not. Whereas a win against Colombia would guarantee either side a quarter-final clash with Sweden or Switzerland.

"We created openings to get something from the game, but we have to keep improving. It is not going to be easy at all". At that point, a team might as well have the momentum of a few wins on its side.

Rashford and Januzaj are undeniably big talents, but they've both had their ups and downs. If they lose then this game will be viewed as the night when vital momentum was lost.

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In what was a tiresome affair as both sides looked like they were playing for a draw, Januzaj opened the scoring after 50 minutes having beaten Danny Rose with a bit of skill before curling the ball past Jordan Pickford.

Two of the tournament's most underwhelming teams meet up in the first match of the Round of 16. Just don't expect a classic.

The Three Lions started off their World Cup campaign in quite a nervy fashion as captain Harry Kane scored twice in the 11th minute and 1st minute of injury time to help defeat Tunisia 2-1. The last-16 ties start Saturday, with France taking on Argentina in Kazan and Uruguay facing Cristiano Ronaldo´s Portugal in Sochi.

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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