Win or lose?

My Arsenal Blog

Win or lose?

Posted on June 28, 2018 by Harry Kettle

We can imagine that you’re all a bit sick of the international predictions flooding the home page, but unfortunately for you all, the wonder of the World Cup takes priority for now – apologies. So whilst we’re on the trend of talking about the biggest sporting event on the planet, we thought we’d take some time to discuss England’s game against Belgium tonight. More specifically, however, we want to think about which outcome would be bets for The Three Lions.

While we understand that many people reading this probably aren’t interested in supporting England in any way, shape or form, let’s face it, we’re all a little bit surprised by how well things are going right now. Even though the opposition hasn’t been great, picking up 2-1 and 6-1 victories to start off any international campaign is a pretty big deal.

Of course, everyone continues to say that facing the Belgians will be a huge step up in competition, and they’re right. Alas, we aren’t focused on the game itself, but instead what it’ll represent in the knockout stages. If England wins the group (so avoid defeat in this match) then their possible route to the final will be made a little bit more difficult by the fact that they could easily square off against Brazil in the quarters. If they finish second in the group, then they’ll face either Sweden or Switzerland for a place in the final four.

Obviously, you can never guarantee anything in this game and especially in international football. With that being said, you have to question what the mentality is going to be here. Gareth Southgate will likely want to play a full-strength squad in order to carry the momentum forward into the next round, but there’s a middle ground between that thought process and ‘just play the reserves’.

Someone like Harry Kane should only be playing 45 minutes in this game before being yanked off for Jamie Vardy or Marcus Rashford, and that’s just a fact. Beyond that, we wouldn’t mind seeing Gary Cahill getting some more game time, and Alli needs a run-out if he’s going to be fit enough for the Round of 16.

Arrogance is an English trait, though, and we aren’t forgetting that England could easily lose against whoever they face Group H in the first knockout round. Still, you can’t blame us for wanting to dream after years of misery.

How far will England go in Russia?

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