World Cup 2018: England Team vs Belgium, Predicted XI
The dreams of England's fans shattered when Mario Mandžukić scored a 109th-minute goal for Croatia which proved to be the winning goal. This England team is a bunch of young lads and they did a lot of hard work to progress to the semi-final.
At the same time, it will be right to say that their performance against Croatia was a dismal one. They had only 2 shots on target even after scoring in the first 5 minutes. With the disappointment of not advancing to the final, one has to congratulate the players and coach for their achievements in this tournament.
From being eliminated in the group stage of the World cup 2014 to qualify for the semi-final in 2018 is a big step for England. Gareth Southgate did bring his side a long way after the sacking of former England's coach Roy Hodgson in 2016.
England still have a lot to fight for as they prepare themselves to face Belgium for the third place. Both the teams were in the same pool in this campaign but their previous meeting was merely between their reserve teams.
ENGLAND XI AND FORMATION
Kieran Trippier is said to on the sidelines after his groin injury forced him to come off in the dying stages of the game against Croatia. Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold would be his ideal replacement.
The 19-year old made his first World Cup appearance against Belgium in the third group stage match.
Gary Cahill could also be in the starting XI as this might be his last World Cup. Southgate will want his experienced centre-defender to have a pleasant send-off.
Ashley Young has started all the games except one for England but Danny Rose could make his way into the first team as Gareth Southgate would want to test his bench strength.
Harry Maguire, alongside John Stones, has been a pillar for England. His strength and power have attracted a lot of eyes. With the presence of attacking quality Belgium possess, Southgate should be careful and play one of his experienced central defenders.
Jordan Pickford has also had a very good tournament as he making some crucial saves to help England make the semi-finals. With the match not offering much, Gareth Southgate might give Jack Butland an opportunity to make a World Cup appearance.
Dele Alli has struggled at times during the tournament. He came into England's side as a replacement for legendary midfielders like Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard but failed to make an impression throughout the tournament.
He started in four games but scored only a single goal and failed to register a single assist. Fabian Delph could start ahead of Alli and could provide a good support to the left-back.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek could also be a part of the starting XI in place of Dele Alli. Jordan Henderson was suffering from a knock prior to the semi-final game so Eric Dier could also feature ahead of his Liverpool's skipper.
Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, both of the Manchester's stars had a quiet World Cup. Rashford appeared in 5 games but started only once whereas Raheem Sterling missed a number of chances to score goals.
In 5 games, Sterling had only one shot at the target. He didn't score a goal and recorded just a single assist.
Jesse Lingard had an on and off tournament but should be given a starting role against Belgium as he has done the job to bring the ball from midfield to attack very consistently. He scored a belter of a goal against Panama.
Southgate will also be tempted to play Harry Kane so that he could win the Golden Boot award. Romelu Lukaku is two-goals behind and has only a single match left to play.