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England fans 'mob' bus in Maidstone after World Cup clash with Belgium

England fans 'mob' bus in Maidstone after World Cup clash with Belgium

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Finishing runners-up in Group G would mean a last-16 tie against the winners of Group H, Colombia.

Their battle in Kaliningrad follows the dramatic exit of Joachim Loew´s 2014 winners, who finished rock bottom of their group after a 2-0 defeat to South Korea, the final humiliation after a campaign that never caught fire.

"It's obviously disappointing but we have to keep our spirits high in the camp and we have to take positivity into the next game, which is a obviously an important game for the county", he said.

While every other group in the World Cup has come down to nail-shredding final matches, Group G is concluding with a kickabout between B-teams.

The Three Lions made eight changes, including leaving Harry Kane on the bench, while Roberto Martinez kept Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne in reserve. It is a question that has nagged at the England manager this week. "But the main thing is getting the team through the first knock-out".

The Liverpool teenager was solid defensively and took corners - the source of several England goals this tournament - in Kieran Trippier's absence. He totally understood, 100 percent, that it was team first.

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And Kane's determination to play against Belgium compelled Southgate into holding special talks with his captain to explain his decision to rest him ahead of the knockout rounds.

Japan coach Akira Nishino has warned his players against complacency when they meet the already eliminated Poles.

Meanwhile, RTE pundit Liam Brady said England's loss to Belgium demonstrated their lack of squad depth, particularly in midfield.

If Southgate learned lessons from this, it is that he got his original World Cup selection pretty much spot on.

Minutes after, in the 66th (!) minute to be precise, Rashford had the chance to go level. "We're always talking to our players about discipline on the pitch, avoiding needless free-kicks". You don't want to see smiles in the changing rooms. With the victor poised to win the group, a draw would be sufficient for Gareth Southgate's men to progress; England in possession of a superior disciplinary record. That is the reality, we have put ourselves in this situation, we wanted to qualify and we have done that. "I don't think that in the World Cup you can be successful by trying to hope to get an easy path". He has tested that philosophy to its limits, locating them in Kaliningrad's Radisson hotel, over the road from the Maxim strip club and right in the centre of town. "We're facing Japan, we've got to be ready for it", he said. "But there'll be more energy around the hotel, and that prepares you well".

"No words!" chided the best-selling Bild daily, over a picture of a despondent-looking Toni Kroos.

He was also able to try out with success Thomas Vermaelen, the Barcelona defender out injured for over a month, and later in the game to give a run out to defensive talisman Vincent Kompany, who had also yet to play in Russian Federation due to injury.


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