England vs. Belgium
The Three Lions have hardly had it easy in any World competition, and their faceoff against Belgium will be a roadblock to their chances of securing a World Cup after 52 years. On paper it is Belgium who has a more cohesive unit with few superstars in their ranks. Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne will be the players England will like to stop, and both ply their trade in England so they are accustomed to their heroics. Vincent Kompany may not travel to Russia after an injury against Portugal which will mean Vertonghen and Vermaelen leading the defence. In midfield Roberto Martinez is spoilt for choices with the likes of Mousa Dembele, Axel Witsel, NacerChadli, and of course KDB. In attack Eden Hazard will flank Lukaku or Benteke. Martinez may surprise with Mertens up front.
This may not be England’s best team in the past decade, but Southgate has proven his gritty attitude. He knows how to grind out results and with Kane leading the line both as a striker and captain, England will look to brush away their World Cup woes. The much controversial Sterling will play a huge part in this game, and Alli will be bestowed with attacking duties. England may play a double pivot of Henderson and Dier. Cahill will start and Maguire, Leicester’s best player of the season may get a nod. Southgate isn’t fond of a 4-4-2 formation, else it would have been the pace of Vardy and the finishing of Kane against a balanced Belgian side.