Southgate: Germany's exit has no bearing on England


"They know everything about each other and [there is] lots and lots of quality in both teams".

With all the unexpected scorelines, France, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Uruguay have all ended up on the same side of the knock-out draw, while Spain is the only recognised superpower on the other side of the draw.

"Kane is strong, he has confidence right now, he wants to be the top scorer". England hammered Panama 6-1 while Belgium thrashed Tunisia 5-2 last week.

Whoever finishes runners up of Group G will encounter Brazil or Mexico in the quarter finals, while the victor will face Sweden or Switzerland. But thanks to a number of upsets and disappointing starts from known powerhouse countries, one side of the World Cup bracket looks overpowering, while the other now provides a seemingly more friendly path to the final.

So what should England do?

Do they intentionally lose and get an easier path to the final?

England is now leading the group, but only on the "fair play" tiebreaker, meaning Belgium could still win the group even if the match ends in a draw.

He argues that the tournament has been so unpredictable and that no one looks like world beaters, so in reality it does not matter who they face.

"World Cups are all about momentum", he said. I would love my team to keep winning, keep winning, keep winning.

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That experience has shaped his approach to a match in which England are through to the last-16 regardless of the result, and he will use the opportunity to involve as many players as possible before the knockout phase.

"All players with a yellow card and with minor injuries, they will not play".

In addition, Southgate is likely to give a starting role to Marcus Rashford, instead of the rusty Raheem Sterling, and a sharp performance from the Manchester United striker against quality opposition could see him retain his place for the last-16 match.

Bilic isn't even English, but that is some unbelievable passion.

A daunting prospect, particularly owing to a potential quarter-final match-up with either five-time champions Brazil or perennial under-achievers Mexico.

Additionally, the team that finishes runner-up will have an extra 24 hours to prepare for its next match - a key factor to consider midway through a lengthy tournament that offers little time off between games. "That would mean we top the group and we would go into whatever game we go into moving forward".

While Roberto Martinez has not ruled out changing every outfield player, Gareth Southgate is unlikely to be so drastic.

Thousands of England fans are expected to travel to Kaliningrad for the game, with 2,659 tickets sold through the Football Association alone. Have your say by leaving a comment below.

"We have no idea who, when or where we will play in the next round but we are pleased that we're in the next round".


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