So it isn’t coming home after all but England can still finish their World Cup campaign with a third placed finish if they can see off Belgium in the battle of the losing semi-finalists in Saint Petersburg on Saturday afternoon.
This is the one match of the tournament nobody wants to be in heading into it but historically once the whistle has blown we have seen some of the best matches in the World Cup in it. Hopefully that trend continues here.
Are you backing England to finish 3rd? If so why not open up an 888 account and get the tasty odds of 11/1 on the Three Lions getting the bronze medals. Click the banner below to sign up and get this great price!
Do you think England can win this game inside 90 minutes? Don’t take the current prices if you do. Sign up for Betfair today and get a MASSIVE 50/1 on the Three Lions winning in 90 minutes! Click the below banner to sign up for these great odds!
When you consider that Belgium came here to win the tournament I would imagine their enthusiasm at playing this match will be fairly low but if there is one thing I know about professional footballers it is that they hate losing so I’m sure the XI that takes the field here will give this a mighty good go.
It is perfectly possible that Belgium have some frustration to take out on England here. They were less than amused by France’s appalling time wasting tactics in their semi-final although I suspect that may just be a mask for their disappointment that they never truly had a go at the French during their last four contest. I’m expecting them to have a real go here and prove a point.
We all dared to believe it was coming home but alas it wasn’t to be as England fell short against a side with much more experience at the top echelons of the game in the form of Croatia on Wednesday night. In truth though we didn’t dare to believe England could win this tournament, their players made us believe it with their honest approach which engaged with their fans completely.
I would imagine that once the disappointment wore off from being knocked out of the tournament that they will be looking forward to this match. It is a chance to achieve their best finish in a World Cup since 1966 and it is another chance for this promising, exciting team to showcase their talents on a world stage and even end the nonsense that they haven’t beaten anyone decent in this run.
Roberto Martinez may well decide to make changes to his side for this match. It makes no sense risking a Vincent Kompany injury four weeks out from the Premier League beginning. Thomas Meunier is back from suspension and could feature.
England are likely to be without Kieran Trippier for this match which is a big blow given he’s been one of their players of the tournament. Trent Alexander-Arnold looks the obvious replacement for him. Gareth Southgate has suggested he will make minimal changes for this match but with the two substitute goalkeepers having not got on the field in the tournament it might be that one of them gets a game.
While all the conspiracy theorists work out who does and doesn’t want to play in this match I quite enjoy betting on the third placed playoff for a couple of reasons. Firstly one side always has 24hrs recovery time on the other and on this occasion the team that played first in the semi-final in Belgium never went to extra time nor led their game whereas England did both. Secondly I like betting on it because you have to go back to 1974 for the last time three goals were not scored in this game.
I think Belgium are the better of the two teams here anyway and we saw in their group meeting that their reserves have much of the English side covered too but when you factor in the extra recovery time from the semi-final I think Belgium are good things. I’ll also ride the trend of goals in the game as I think it is a fairly safe one. I say that because absolutely nobody will want extra time here. There’s no pressure on either team so I’m expecting both to open up and have a right good go here with the goals to flow between the two leading scorers in the tournament.
WON – Back Belgium to beat England for a 4/10 stake at 2.30 with Unibet
Back them here:
Back Over 3 goals for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with BetVictor