World Cup 2018: Belgium Team, Predicted Playing XI & Starting Lineup vs England
UPDATE: Belgium have confirmed their starting lineup
Belgium XI vs England: Courtois, Dendoncker, Boyata, Vermaelen, Chadli, Dembélé, Fellaini, Tielemans, T. Hazard, Januzaj, Batshuayi.
England vs Belgium is quite literally the last match of the 2018 World Cup group stages as the teams in Group G kickoff at the same time. The other match is between Panama and Tunisia.
While many would have loved to look forward to an exciting encounter, the fact that both the Three Lions and the Red Devils have already qualified for the knockout stages means this match will not have the same drama we witnessed with Argentina and Germany.
Nevertheless, it is a game between two of the most exciting teams left in the tournament and both sides have a similar record - 6 points, 8 goals scored, and 2 goals conceded. A draw will see the team with fewer yellow cards top the group and at this stage that team is England.
The fact that the group winners could go into the tougher half of the draw (the same half as Portugal, Uruguay, Brazil, France, and Argentina) will mean that finishing second in the group could be helpful (at least on paper) in advancing to the latter stages of the World Cup.
This could see both managers play their reserve players for this game.
Belgium Team News
Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku has already been ruled out of the game. The Manchester United frontman injured his ankle in the 5-2 win over Tunisia.
"He had a really difficult knock against Tunisia and probably tomorrow is one day too early," Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said about Lukaku. "But I don't think it is going to take any longer than that.
"We had very good news on the scan. There was no further damage, but it is still uncomfortable."
Dries Mertens is also nursing an ankle injury while Eden Hazard has an issue with his calf muscle.
Meanwhile, three Belgian players are on a yellow card - Kevin de Bruyne, Jan Vertonghen, and Thomas Meunier. If they pick up a yellow card in this game, they will be suspended for the Round of 16 encounter, so Martinez may not risk them either, especially Vertonghen.
How will Belgium line up against England?
Thibaut Courtois will most likely start in goal again as Martinez will not want to rest all his major stars for the third game. The Chelsea goalkeeper kept a clean sheet against Panama but conceded twice against Tunisia.
With a 3-4-2-1 formation on the cards, Martinez will go with Vincent Kompany in central defence, flanked by Toby Alderweireld on the right and Thomas Vermaelen on the left. Dedryck Boyata and Jan Vertonghen will most likely be rested.
In midfield, Martinez could go with Marouane Fellaini and Mousa Dembele. The wing-back spots could go to Adnan Januzaj on the right (since Meunier is on a yellow card) and Nacer Chadli on the left (with Yannick Carrasco rested).
With De Bruyne set to be rested, Youri Tielemans could get a start in an advanced midfield position. If Eden Hazard shrugs off his calf problem, he could get a start too so that Belgium have some sort of cohesion up front with second-choice striker Michy Batshuayi.
Also read: England's Predicted XI vs Belgium
Belgium XI and Formation
Note: This article was updated with the confirmed starting lineups.
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