Did fringe players impress in England vs Belgium?

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Belgium have some of the best players on the planet, and Roberto Martinez's side will be aiming to go all the way in Russian Federation and win the World Cup.

"I think it will be an interesting game, a 50-50 game, and both teams are qualified so it will be a odd game", said Fellaini, who plays in England for Manchester United, having made his name for another Premier League club Everton.

But those assumptions were based on reputation, not what we've seen so far at this tournament.

"If I go and head-butt Roberto in the last five minutes then you'll know we're taking a different approach to getting through", he added, laughing.

That notion has certainly been firmly rejected by Gareth Southgate who has insisted that a winning feeling is much better than already pre-planning England's progression to the latter stages.

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.

Belgium's next game will be against Japan, a team which Martinez described to be very "dynamic, well organized, strong and technical".

Rare that there is ever a moment to be so relaxed at a World Cup, but he has earned it. Southgate has been clear in his intention to let the players loose socially, to do their own thing, to treat them as responsible adults and let that permeate onto the pitch on match-days.

There was a odd feeling around the game as both teams were already assured of progress to the last 16, with talk about the best path to the final compounded by a combined 17 changes.

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England's coach Gareth Southgate during his press conference ahead of England vs Belgium at the Kaliningrad stadium on June 27, 2018 in Kaliningrad.

As England move into the World Cup knockout stage, what are the lessons of their setback in Kaliningrad? The first two will always be regarded as gimmies and we got what we should have out of them but we could have made a statement by coming away with nine points.

"No words!" chided the best-selling Bild daily, over a picture of a despondent-looking Toni Kroos. Both teams had already won their two games and assured themselves of passage into the round-of-16.

"Of course, if we don't win, I understand people would say whatever about the Belgium match as well".

With 35 Premier League players from the 2017/18 campaign playing for either England or Belgium during the World Cup there will be plenty of familiar faces on show.

The Chelsea defender accepts England have been given plenty to think about, but insists they can still take momentum from previous group game victories over Tunisia and Panama into their last-16 showdown with Colombia in Moscow on Tuesday night. "I think here we've played extremely well". But the main thing is getting the team through the first knockout'.

"If you start thinking any further than that I think you're risking a lot".

In a match that neither seemed eager to win with the loser finishing on the easier side of the bracket in the knockout stage, there were chances to be taken but clinical finishing was off for both. "We saw how close Argentina came (to being eliminated)".

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