Whenever two European sides clash at the World Cup there’s always plenty of hype, and this match should live up to expectations. Both nations boast considerable talent, and the fact that almost the entire first team squad of both nations are regulars in the English Premier League, this match is perhaps the closest we will get to a Premier League All Star fixture, ironically a suggestion by Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku.
Unfortunately, there is the potential for us to be robbed of seeing both teams at full strength. Each side has picked up six points and secured progression to the next round, so there is plenty of suggestion that this match could lack the intensity of a meeting between the sides in the knockout stages.
There has been plenty of talk of the possible advantage of finishing second in this group. As the Group G matches are last to be played, it will be possible for the English and Belgian teams to look at the best path to the World Cup final. It may be dangerous to get the binoculars out too early, although it’s certainly worth consideration if it means avoiding Germany or Brazil in the quarter-finals.
With all the talk about this subject, the final decision may end up being completely out of each side’s control. Currently, Belgium and England have scored the same number of goals and are level on goal difference. If this match ends in a draw, the number of FIFA Fair Play points (yellow and red cards) will separate the teams. If this remains level as well, FIFA will need to draw lots to determine the group winner.
England enter as the slight favourite and can look to their excellent record against their close neighbours as inspiration for a potential victory here. They have only lost twice to the Belgians, and avoiding defeat here may be enough for them to finish atop Group G.
As it stands, and regardless of exterior factors, all three results are a firm possibility in this match. Belgium will start as the outsider, paying +176, while England are at +162 and the draw is available for +218. This about sums up the chances of both teams, and we’re finding it difficult to pick a winner here. A draw is in our opinion the most likely result.
As far as goals go, both sides have been in great touch in the final third and we can definitely see both teams scoring. As the result doesn’t really matter, we could even see a few goals, so we’re going with a 2-2 final score.