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Injured Romelu Lukaku a doubt for England clash

28 Juin 2018

While Panama will head into the other Group G game, against Tunisia, already eliminated, they will be eager to bow out of what is their debut World Cup finals in style.

They'd be feeling confident, facing teams they've beaten in recent matches such as Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland.

"In England we spent a bit of time being a bit lost as to what our modern identity is and I think as a team we represent that modern identity".

The key is how the "bigger" nations evolve and develop as they progress through the knockout rounds and in the latter stages of the competition.

Ultimately, though, the prospect of meeting Germany in the quarter-finals is no more.

"It's not a country just to arrive in and take a chance". "They've been ahead for about a minute and a half, in total, of their three matches and it's unusual to see them struggle as much as they have". With a top-class goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and a defence including Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld - not including Vincent Kompany - they are expected to go very close, if not all the way.

"To put that into context, there have only been two World Cups or European Championships in the past 22 years where we have had more than that over the whole tournament".

Though you would expect the best-case scenario to be England finishing first in Group G, the unpredictable nature of the first two rounds of the group stage has meant that numerous tournament favourites have actually finished second in their group (or have been knocked out altogether).

"It would be nice for us to be talked about in a positive way and we've just got to keep our feet on the ground and keep working hard in training".

Southgate said Germany's exit does not impact on England.

That said there is still room for optimism and positivity, tonight's game against Belgium represents a more relevant barometer. "If we win, great, but I don't think winning is the priority tomorrow".

Comfortable victories over Panama and Tunisa have guaranteed qualification for the knockout stages with a game to spare and the abundance of riches that Martinez has at his disposal, particularly up top, appear to be gelling nicely.

Southgate, though, was adamant nothing other than three points against Belgium has been discussed, insisting his side are prepared for the prospect of facing more hard opponents, having beaten Panama and Tunisia so far in Russian Federation.

Here, Press Association Sport takes a look at how Kane and Lukaku match up against each other.

"You're always judged on results without necessarily all of the context and all the understanding of where you are, that you're learning".

A runners-up spot in Group G would ensure England avoid a potential quarter-final with Brazil, yet Gary Neville insists Southgate's side can not play to lose against Belgium.

"I think we just have to keep playing as well as we can, keep preparing the team the right way, keep the momentum and I have to keep the squad involved".

Belgium are likely to rest midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne and possibly striker Romelu Lukaku for their last World Cup group match against England, coach Roberto Martinez said on Monday (Jun 25). That would mean we top the group and then we can move forward.

Injured Romelu Lukaku a doubt for England clash