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Belgium – England

Belgium England third place playoff lineups preview

The third place playoff of the 2018 World Cup will see Belgium take on England in Sankt Petersburg, and while both teams will be disappointed of missing out on the final, the players would still relish leaving Russia with a medal.

Belgium has been hands down one of the best teams in the competition, but after 5 straight wins (including beating Brazil in the quarters), they eventually succumbed to France in the semifinals. The Belgians were arguably the better team in that game and definitely were the team in control, but France defended well and was yet again very effective in front of goal, snatching the victory – much like Belgium did in the QFs against Brazil.

England’s dream of winning the World Cup was ruined in the semifinals by Croatia, with the Three Lions losing 1-2 in extra time after taking an early 1-0 lead. England was very poor in the second half and extra time of that game, looking a bit tired and without ideas against a Croatian team which just seemed more solid overall. The English definitely had a good tournament, but they also had their fair share of luck, as their draw was very accessible, and they also survived a penalty shootout against Colombia in Round 16.

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Team news & lineups:

Both teams are expected to rotate the squad here, although it`s not clear to what extent. Belgium is fully healthy, while England has Walker, Trippier and Henderson doubtful.

Belgium: Mignolet – Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Dendocker – Meunier, Fellaini, De Bruyne, Chadli – Januzaj, Batshuayi, Mertens

England: Butland – Jones, Cahill, Maguire – Alexander-Arnold, Loftus Cheek, Dier, Delph, Rose – Welbeck, Vardy

The two teams are expected to line up in a similar manner to how they did in the group stage, when Belgium won 1-0 and kept England in check throughout the game.

This time the English might rotate a bit more, as they played more football in the competition and looked very tired in the second part of the match against Croatia, while also having one less day of rest than Belgium.

When all is said and done Belgium is the better team here, looks more cohesive and better coached, and simply played better football during this tournament. Credit to England for reaching this stage, but they played worse than Belgium, had an easy draw and were lucky to win a penalty shootout lottery. When you think about it, they only won against Panama, Tunisia (in the last second) and Sweden.

Even with rotation Belgium remains solid, and already proved they can beat England when resting their best guys.

There are really no solid arguments for England here, so my tip will be Belgium to win with a +0 asian handicap (draw no bet), but I recommend keeping the stakes reasonable as this feels more like a friendly than a World Cup match. Also it`s not smart to go all in when you can`t really anticipate the lineups with a high degree of probability, although we mostly know what to expect in that regard. 6-7 units seems enough on this bet for me. Prediction: Belgium – England 2-0.

Pick: Belgium (+0 Asian Handicap)
Odds: 1.70 @ 1xBet
Stake: 7
Possible profit: 4.90
Event date: 14 July

About Rostick

Former bookie & water polo player. Rugby Union expert. - EDITOR INFO & STATS
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