Germany exit has no bearing on England preparations: Southgate

Germany exit has no bearing on England preparations: Southgate

Belgium were top seeds in Group G and always expected to finish as the best team in it so it was a relief that England went into the game against their fellow Europeans knowing the result didn't matter to their qualification into the knockout stages.

England now meet Colombia in Samara - and if they win will play either Switzerland or Sweden in the quarter finals - while Belgium take on Japan.

"When you're a leader and a manager, you have got to make decisions that are right for your group and are right for the primary objective", the Three Lions boss said.

"You can say he is fearless but so is (Belgium manager) Roberto Martinez: he also made a number of changes I think they were both probably looking at the bigger picture and know that the next game is the biggest one of them all".

"We need to look at ourselves".

England go into the Thursday's game in Kaliningrad having secured progression to the last 16 with a game to spare, four years after crashing out at the group stage in Brazil.

Sunday starts with Russian Federation hosting Spain in Moscow's main stadium, with the late game pitting Denmark, which hasn't lost since the fall of 2016, against Croatia, which eased through its group with three wins.

Martinez said he was "delighted in the manner we won it".

With all talk of knockout permutations over and a match up against Colombia in Moscow in the last 16 confirmed, the confidence began to flow again for many.

"We've played well in the games leading into it and played well in the tournament".

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Poland defeated Japan 1-0 in the other group match.

Coach Roberto Martinez is likely to rest Lukaku even if he is fit to play, explaining that the Manchester United forward knows the team is more important than individual accolades such as the Golden Boot.

Belgium seemed quite happy to finish second until the goal.

Belgium beat England 1-0 as they refuse to take easy pathAfter a surreal night on the Baltic where England struggled to contain their satisfaction with a defeat that offers them an easier path to the final, Belgium are trusting that World Cup fortune will favour the fearless.

The biggest cheers were reserved for yellow cards, adding to the hilarity of the spectacle.

Success at the Spartak Stadium would highlight the progress in the two years since England's last major tournament ended with a humiliating Euro 2016 exit to Iceland.

Belgum and England rested several first-choice players on Thursday and, despite half-chances at either end, the fans wondered if their teams were willing to accept second spot for an arguably easier run-in by avoiding the more fancied teams.

"Maybe the English team are thinking the same thing but they are not expressing it like us".

Panama took the lead in the 33rd minute through an own-goal, when Jose Luis Rodriguez's hard, left-footed shot deflected off of Tunisia's Yassine Meriah.

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