Gareth Southgate: Colombia clash is England's biggest in a decade

Irene MckinneyJun 29, 2018

Southgate, whose England side have already qualified from Group G ahead of their third game against Belgium on Thursday, has always been an admirer of the 2014 world champions.

Should England and Belgium play to win or lose?

"We'd identified (set pieces) as key in tournaments and an element we felt we could improve upon", Southgate said, reflecting on the 6-1 rout of Panama on Sunday that featured a goal from a corner, another from a free kick and two penalties.

Players who amass two yellow cards in the three group matches will miss the following game.

Southgate never announces his team officially until an hour before kick-off but he is acutely aware that Kane wants to be involved and has had to balance his captain's wishes with the possibility England's first knockout game could take place on Monday, four days after the Belgium game.

"We know where we are, how immaculate we have to be to win matches against the very best teams".

"What he has done in the league - of course I can only judge by seeing him on TV - he has scored a lot of goals and been very important for Tottenham and the English national team as well", Vermaelen said.

Her husband, and fellow Nottingham Forest fan, Paul Shaw said he believed Germany's exit from the tournament gave England a better chance.

"If I go and headbutt Roberto in the last five minutes then you'll know that we're maybe taking a different approach to getting through", he chuckled.

Southgate would not be drawn on whether he would make wholesale changes for the Belgium game - the Red Devils having also assured themselves a spot in the knockout stages - but did confirm Eric Dier will start for the first time in Russian Federation.

'But we had a couple of good ones in the second. "We can't think is going to be easy".

"We're trying to develop a winning mentality and I can't imagine a situation where I stand in front of the players I've got start talking to them about anything else".

And that means England supporters are revelling in the fact their team has gone further in the a World Cup than Germany for the first time since they beat them in the final in 1966.

And Dixon added: 'I'm not a goalkeeping coach or anything but I think when the ball is struck he's got to go with his other hand and I texted a friend of mine who is a goalkeeping coach and he said he should have gone with his right hand.

"We have no idea who, when or where we will play", said Southgate, stressing the dangers of plotting a path through a tournament that has already thrown up no shortage of major shocks.

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