Group G: England, Belgium, Tunisia, Panama

kef2138

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Great effort from Lingard. Lovely goal.

As I write, Stones scores again.
 

Sideshow Bob

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Lingard with a near carbon copy of his goal against Everton in January.
 

SuperRash

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Well.... Kane with another penalty. 5-0.

Panama are absolutely woeful, such naive defending.
 

kef2138

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Can anyone explain how come England is top of the group (as all commentators imply) and does not share the first place with Belgium? Same goal difference, same number of goals scored and conceded, have not met in a direct match.
 

Sideshow Bob

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England top the group due to FIFA Fair Play rules. England have two yellow cards while Belgium have three.
 

IDFD

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Worth noting that after all 3 games the fair play doesn’t count. If after goal difference, goals for and head to head teams are equal then they’ll flip a coin.
 

Red Warrior

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I read this morning that Lukaku will be injured for the game on Thursday. Anyone else heard this?
 

jsp

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Apparently he came off with a tight muscle on Saturday so isn't going to be risked for the game Thursday.

Martinez has said he's going to make quite a few changes and Southgate has said he'll be giving minutes to guys who haven't played.

@IDFD you sure about the fair play thing? Heard a few people saying is still counts after 3 games goal difference, head to head, goals scored...

I always though the coin toss was a real last resort type thing be typical England if we get the harder draw because we lose a coin toss, would rather take our chances in a penalty shoot out or nominate your best FIFA player for a one off match against someone from Belgium or you know a fight to the death of some sort.
 

Red Warrior

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I still can't believe how heavy handed the Panama defenders were. They were literally rugby tackling Kane and others during the first half. There were 2 incidents for the second penalty, I'm sure it was actually given for a rugby tackle on Stones but the other incident on Kane was atrocious. The guy even gave Kane a smash on the back of the head with his fist on the way down just for good measure. FIFA should be looking at these incidents as its not the first time I have seen it at this WC
 

Mr C

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the guy should have been sent off for punching Kane in the back of the head. He looked so cool with all that provocation before the penalities. Levy did well signig him up before the tourny. Sterling on the hand should have signed his deal, If I were City I'd be dropping my offer, no one is going to pay him that much. Lingard has done really well again, I hope he keeps it up and gets into the united stasrting 11. He deserves it.

I worry this side will capitulate at the back when faced with a decent team.
 

Red Warrior

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Yeh I agree, even Panama had 2 other good chances, one really good one in the first half which was created by a defensive cock up. The guy made a mess of his shot when clear through but that's because they were rank amateurs. I said it yday, a good team will punish us. Still, if we make the quarters it will be a half decent achievement with a young side. From there anything can happen. I'm pretty sure we are due a big penalty shootout win lol
 

jsp

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Panama were always going to be rough and my guess is they got to the world cup because the refs in their qualifying allowed them to rough the opposition up and without VAR they also had that advantage. I think after what happened vs Tunisia England made sure the refs knew exactly what to look for on corners and set pieces they drew the refs attention to it as it was comical I think for the pen 3 players were being held.

Were a few naughty elbows as well both Lingard & Maguire were caught by elbows which weren't spotted by the ref or the VAR officials they did look more clumsy than intentional.

The defence is my big worry to they are so open at the back a top team is going to punish that which is why I think he might change up the personel a bit going forward to play with a bit more caution. They don't look organised at the back at all their goal kind of showed that with 2 people dropping from the line to play everyone onside, I would imagine Southgate would be furious with that.
 

Red Warrior

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@jsp did Southgate say he was just giving a few of the lads run outs that haven't played as we are through or does he mean a serious change to try and get us the win?
 

IDFD

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I was 100% sure I’d seen it after the Spain vs Iran game when they were talking about Portugal and Spain and who will top the group if they win by the same margin but everyone is telling me I’m incorrect.

What are people’s thoughts if we know losing means we get an easier draw? Intentionally throw the game?
 

Red Warrior

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I thought that might come into it but GNev said he never ever came across doing that as a player. You play to beat what is in front of you. I'd be ok if we drew to go second but not to lose. It's not like the next round we will play any 'big' teams, I'm happy to play any of the 3 from that group, but it may make a difference in the quarters who play
 

Mr C

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Sky sports have the permutaions, losing would make a way better route.

England knockout permutations: Would a second-placed finish in Group G be preferable?

I think it's better to keep the level up. Whoever you play will have beaten someone decent, and you don't want to get the final having had no competition. The reality is, they aren't going to win the lot, so play the big sides.

Southgate said he wanted to make changes but not take the momentum away, I guess Trippier will miss out, maybe the lads on yellows, give Alli a hal
 

jsp

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I don't think you can throw a game it sends out the wrong message if this team wants to go far they need to believe they can beat anyone so if we have a harder draw so be it at some point you have to play a good team and I think throwing a game will send out the wrong message.

I think we have to rotate and make changes just to give the subs some minutes on the pitch in case they're needed in the knockout round you don't want to have to bring a guy in who's hardly played.

Pickford

Walker Stones Maguire

Alexander-Arnold Loftus-Cheek Dier Delph Rose

Rashford Kane

That would be my XI I think you need to play that back 3 together to get them building an understanding and Belgium should give them a proper test that they haven't really had yet.

Kane says he wants to start so I'd give him 60 minutes and then look to sub him.

I don't know how the bans work with the yellow cards I assume it's a clean slate after group stage if not then I wouldn't play anyone who's a yellow card away from a ban.
 

Mr C

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when do the cards get wiped? Walker is on a yellow.
 

jsp

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I wasn't sure as they keep messing about with it.

Is it still 2 yellows equal a ban or has that now been upped to 3? 2 yellows seems harsh for a ban now when it's so easy to get a yellow card in football the punishments were bought in when the cards weren't dished out at anywhere near the same rate they are these days.

Assume it's now only a red card in the semi final that gets you banned from a final now, sure I read something about the rules changing so you still get a 1 game ban if you hit the yellow card limit but it just carries over to the next competitive game rather than rule you out of a final.
 

IDFD

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2 yellows is a ban - Only know that because one of the Panama players booked yesterday misses the final group game.
 

jsp

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Given the way they play surprised they've only got 1 player banned for the final game then.

They reminded me a bit of Honduras at the last world cup made up for the lack of ability with violence.

Thought we stood up well to the rough housing tactics from them didn't seem to let it bother us, I think other teams could've lost their heads a bit if they had to play them.
 

Mr C

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I think the UK are losing their head, listening to radio it's like we they can win.

They scraped through against Tunisia and beat a team Ferdinand said would strtuggle in our non league.
 

IDFD

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Oh come on let us enjoy it. Belgium put 3 passed them we've just put in the performance of the tournament so far.
 

jsp

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Yes we're all getting carried away but why not yeah we've beaten 2 quite poor sides but no one else has looked any good either.

England for the first time in 20 years are playing free flowing attacking football at a major tournament.

We battered Tunisia for the entire game if we'd had our shooting boots on and hadn't been on the end of a terrible VAR call I think we'd have put 4 or 5 past them as well.
 

Red Warrior

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Yeh we could have scored 10 or 12 in 2 games if all those big chances in the first game went in. We all know there are tougher games to come tho. I think Belgium will be a good benchmark of how good we are. I think it will be close
 

Mr C

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Just been reading an article about Jesse and it made a valid point. Pep gets his pipe blowed about bringing on players, but there is no doubt how Lingard has improved under Jose, he has also said himself how much he has learnt under Jose. But Jose gets no recognition.

I think he's been Englands best player, he missed a few game 1 but he was in the right place, and I don't really think they were the sitters being made out.

Going back to original point, if you were a coach of a another team, who are you going to take, Lingard or Sterling? And Sterling wants 350 grand a week!
 

jsp

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Depends what you need if you need a right winger you take Sterling if you need an attacking midfielder/number 10 you take Lingard. Sterling for me is a very important player for City because of his movement which creates a lot of chance plus he's got players with incredible vision and skill to pick him out. In the England team he's struggling because he's in the centre so it's a bit more congested and we don't have a lot of low crosses and cut backs flying across the box. Sterling reminds me a lot of Walcott or Pedro used in a certain way they are highly effective players but if they aren't allowed the space they need they can be easily lost in the game.

There are plenty of players who've improved under Jose. Lingard, Rashford & Lukaku are all young players improving every season under his management but counter to that we've got players who've kind of stalled under him in Shaw, Martial & Pogba. I think it's largely down to Mourinho only being able/willing to handle one type of personality rather than being able to work with the more difficult characters. Pep is the same he wants workaholic players who are very serious about everything he's had bust ups with Aguero because apparently Aguero isn't a great trainer and doesn't always follow instruction to the letter which you need to do in Guardiola football.
 

Mr C

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someone mentioned giving Dier a run out in place of Henderson in the studio the other night.

I know there is a lot of talk about avoiding teams and losing the match etc. But for me, I haven't seen one team in that top draw England could not beat. The real problem team is Spain in the lower draw.

Brazil look awful at the back, the pace we have will pull them apart, Argentina have been awful, Portugal are in reality a one man team. Uraguay maybe a problem, but I think England could dispatch them.
 

jsp

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I think we'd actually struggle against a team like Sweden or Mexico who want to sit and counter attack against us because these sides are good at it and even poor teams like Tunisia & Panama had some luck with these tactics.
 

SuperRash

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It’s definitely important to finish top of the group now. It’s a no brainier that we would prefer to face Japan than Colombia.
 

SuperRash

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England: Jordan Pickford; Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, John Stones; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Eric Dier (capt) Fabian Delph, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Rose; Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford

Belgium: Thibaut Courtois (capt); Thomas Vermaelen, Dedryck Boyata, Leander Dendoncker; Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele, Yori Tielemans, Adrian Januzaj; Marouanne Fellaini, Thorgan Hazard; Michy Batshuayi

8 changes for us and 9 changes for them.

Game with players looking to impress or a dull as dishwater affair?
 

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