World Cup News 28.6.2018 07:50 pm

Blow by blow: England vs Belgium

Belgium's forward Romelu Lukaku (R) celebrates with a teammates  Belgium's forward Dries Mertens (L) and Belgium's forward Eden Hazard (C) after scoring a goal during the international friendly football match between Belgium and Costa Rica at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on June 11, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND

Belgium's forward Romelu Lukaku (R) celebrates with a teammates Belgium's forward Dries Mertens (L) and Belgium's forward Eden Hazard (C) after scoring a goal during the international friendly football match between Belgium and Costa Rica at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels on June 11, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / EMMANUEL DUNAND

England and Belgium go head-to-head in Kaliningrad on Thursday with the winner taking top spot in Group G.

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The European heavyweights have dominated the group and both enter the game knowing they are already safely through to the last 16 of the World Cup in Russia.

However, it is up for debate whether Belgium or England actually want to finish top because the winners could potentially face tougher fixtures in the knockout stage.

Both managers are expected to make changes, with Belgium boss Roberto Martinez already strongly hinting he will rest his top starts, with four-goal Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard both unlikely to start, especially as both suffered injuries in the 5-2 win over Tunisia.

Manchester City defender Vincent Kompany is set to be recalled as he attempts to prove his match fitness, while the likes of Michy Batshuayi, Marouane Fellaini and Thorgan Hazard will all hope to be in the XI.

Gareth Southgate’s men impressed in the 6-1 win over Panama when Golden Boot hopeful Harry Kane scored a hat-trick. He is expected to stay in the starting line-up as he chases more to add to his five strikes in the tournament already. There are expected to be some changes, though, with Eric Dier, Gary Cahill, Danny Rose and Fabian Delph among those hoping for starts.

With both sides level on points, goal difference and goals scored before kick-off, a draw on Thursday would see the group decided on disciplinary points, so bookings and sendings off could be crucial.

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