Verdict: England win
Best Odds: 17/10
On Thursday night, England and Belgium go head-to-head in the last game in Group G of the World Cup. Both teams have already secured their place in the knockout stages, but the pair are now playing to see who finishes top of the group.
England has made an encouraging start to their World Cup campaign with a 2-1 win over Tunisia and a 6-1 mauling of Panama in their group games so far at Russia 2018.
The Three Lions have now won their two group games at World Cup since 2006, while the victory over Panama last time out was their biggest ever at a finals tournament.
A key to England thriving in Russia so far has been Tottenham striker Harry Kane’s prowess in front of goal. The 24-year-old has scored five times in the group so far and he is the early frontrunner for the Golden Boot.
England boss Gareth Southgate may rotate his squad with the last 16 in mind. Tottenham’s Dele Alli remains an injury doubt, so may be rested, while Kyle Walker and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are a booking away from a suspension. The likes of Eric Dier, Marcus Rashford, Danny Rose and Trent Alexander-Arnold may make their first starts of the competition.
Belgium were just too good for Panama and Tunisia, recording 3-0 and 5-2 wins respectively against the relative minnows. The Red Devils are level on points, goal difference and goal scored in the group. However, England has received fewer cautions, so top the group.
Robert Martinez’s team have some of the best individuals in the competition. The Red Devils should at least equal their quarter-final appearance from four years ago this time around.
Belgium have a number of players with doubts over their fitness in Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku. Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Meunier and Kevin De Bruyne are carrying bookings, so we could see a much-changed Belgium team.
Both teams are reportedly set to make significant changes to their starting line-ups. I would have backed Belgium if both sides were playing full strength teams, as the Red Devils arguably have a stronger first eleven.
However, looking at the back-up players that are likely to come in and the fact Kane is set to keep his place I can see Southgate’s side recording a narrow win.
Best Odds: 17/10