England and Belgium face-off in their closing game of Group G at Kaliningrad Stadium on Thursday, with everyone’s attention focused on who will finish in the most beneficial position going into the last-16 stage.
Belgium emerged as leading contenders to take the group after consecutive three-goal margin wins against Panama and Tunisia but England responded by thumping Los Canaleros 6-1, bringing their goal difference level with Roberto Martinez’s side.
With both countries already safe in the knowledge of progressing out of their group, we can expect to see different sides and approaches by Group G’s finest, and our football betting expert has run through some of the best world cup bets.
The Three Lions came out on top in their last encounter with the Belgians, with a Danny Welbeck goal separating the two sides in a 2012 friendly – and England are 15/2 with Grosvenorsport to triumph by the same score line again on Thursday.
Second place in the group more fruitful for both sides?
It will be interesting to see each side’s game plan play out on the day because, as things are going, it looks likely that ending the group in second spot could prove more fruitful going into the knock out stages of the tournament.
So although England go into the fixture as 8/5 favourites, things may not play out quite so simply.Two all-important games in Group H earlier in the day will determine who they face in the last-16.
Draw on the cards?
All that currently separates the two sides is England’s yellow card tally, which is one lower than Belgium – meaning that if this stays the same then England would go through in top spot if the match ends in a draw.
But it’s hard to envisage any reckless challenges in this game, with both sides looking to take it fairly easy, so a draw at 2/1 wouldn’t be an altogether surprising outcome.
We can expect a cagey affair with very few goals, as both nations look set to rest several key players – potentially including their main strikers – with progress to the round of 16 assured.
Key players to be rested
Harry Kane could be set for the bench after playing another crucial role last time out, helping to clinch England’s biggest World Cup winning margin and Roberto Martinez has hinted at giving his key men a break, including Romelu Lukaku.
Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens can also expect some bench time along with Three Lions Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kyle Walker who are one caution away from a suspension so, all-in-all, don’t expect the goals to be flowing. Grosvenorsport are 4/6 for an outcome of under 2.5 total goals.
Meanwhile, better value can be found in the 13/8 on offer for a half-time stalemate, with neither side expected to come out with all guns blazing.