England vs. Belgium
|Date & Time||Thursday June 28, 2018, 2:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: England +191 / Draw +223 / Belgium +152 -- Over/Under: 2.5
Top spot in Group G is on the line when England and Belgium square off in World Cup action from Kaliningrad Stadium on Thursday.
England come into this match on top of group G with all 6 points claimed following a 6-1 thrashing of Panama in their last match. The Three Lions dominated this match from the opening whistle, as John Stones gave England the lead just 8 minutes into the match. Harry Kane slotted home a penalty to make it 2-0 in the 22nd and it stay that way until the 36th minute when England scored the first of 3 goals in 9 minutes from Jesse Lingard, followed by a 2nd goal from John Stones and a 2nd converted penalty from Harry Kane to give the English a 5-0 halftime lead. Kane finished off the hat trick in the 62nd and Felipe Baloy pulled one back for Panama but the damage was already done. England owned 58% possession while outshooting Panama 12-8 and 7-2 in shots on target.
Belgium on the other hand are also on 6 points after a 5-2 whomping of Tunisia in their last outing. Eden Hazard gave the Red Devils the lead just 6 minutes in from the penalty spot before Romelu Lukaku doubled the lead just 10 minutes later. Tunisia pulled one back before Lukaku restored the 2 goal lead on the stroke of halftime. Eden Hazard added a 2nd goal to make it 4-1 on Michy Batshuayi made it 5 before a consolation goal for Tunisia late. Belgium owned 52% possession while outshooting Tunisia 23-15 and 12-5 in terms of shots on target. Romelu Lukaku’s status for this match is currently up in the air after suffering some external ligament damage in the Tunisia match.
These two sides have met just once this century, with the result ending in a 1-0 England victory in a friendly back in 2012.
I think the Lukaku injury was an eye-opener to both sides to maybe scale back a little bit in this clash. If a spot in the knockout rounds were hanging in the balance, I’d say it’s a big loss for Belgium if Lukaku can’t go. However, both teams have punched their tickets to the round of 16, so getting there healthy might be the primary objective in this match. These two teams come into this one on a combined 31 match unbeaten run, and I think we can add another one to that column as I see this being somewhat of a snooze-fest, ending in a goalless draw.