Verdict: Belgium Win
Best Odds: 6/5
On Saturday afternoon, Belgium and England meet in the World Cup 2018 third-place play-off game in Saint Petersburg. Neither side will have wanted to participate in this game, but both will be keen to end their adventures in Russia on a high.
For much of World Cup 2018, Belgium has looked like a team that could lift the trophy. In fact, the Red Devils were unbeaten in 24 games heading into their semi-final with France, only to suffer a 1-0 defeat against Les Bleus.
Roberto Martinez’s side had also recorded seven straight wins before the France defeat. The Red Devils had been prolific in those victories, netting at least two goals in six of those seven victories.
Belgium has already beaten England at World Cup 2018, recording a 1-0 win over the Three Lions in another game that neither side seemed too concerned about winning.
Roberto Martinez is likely to field his strongest team, which means that PSG full-back Thomas Meunier is expected to return to the starting line-up. Dries Mertens and Yannick Carrasco may have to settle for places on the substitute’s bench.
England has performed above all expectations at World Cup 2018. However, making the competitions final was just a step too far for Gareth Southgate’s team.
A 2-1 extra-time defeat against the highly experienced Croatia saw the Three Lions suffer heartbreak. Saturday night’s game will be only the second time they will compete in the third-place play-off. The only other time they have participated in this stage of the competition was in 1990 when the Three Lions suffered defeat against hosts Italy.
England’s performances have lifted the nation, and they have still suffered just one defeat in 90 minutes in their last 16 outings, which was ironically in the aforementioned group game between the pair.
England have doubts over the fitness of Kieran Trippier, Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker. The likes of Eric Dier, Fabian Delph, Marcus Rashford and Danny Rose could all start in this clash.
When everybody is fit, Belgium have a stronger team than England. I can see the Red Devils fielding a strong line-up and Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate making some changes to his side.
For me, Belgium will have too much quality for England and record a victory to pick up a bronze medal, which will come as little consolation to the players.
Verdict: Belgium win
Best Odds: 6/5