England’s final 2018 World Cup group match against Belgium on Thursday night was very bizarre, wasn’t it?
Neither of the two European national teams seemed to want to win the match in fear of finishing top of the group.
Subsequently, both England boss Gareth Southgate and his Belgium counterpart Roberto Martinez named weakened starting line-ups ahead of kick-off. This was effectively England B v Belgium B.
If they drew the match, the outcome of who finished first and second in Group G will be determined by their respective fair play records.
It was so farcical at one point that Belgium’s fans inside the Kaliningrad Stadium were cheering every time referee Damir Skomina brandished a yellow card to one of their players.
Neither team wanted to win the group and end up in the ‘bad half’ of the draw. The winners of Group G will meet either Brazil or Mexico in the quarter-finals if they defeat Japan on July 2.
The runners-up in Group G, however, will meet Sweden or Switzerland in the quarters if they defeat Colombia in Moscow on July 2.
Bolasie's tweet after Januzaj's goal was funny - and true
England got what they wanted thanks to Adnan Januzaj’s superb winning goal early in the second half.
Plenty of people joked that Januzaj faces becoming the first footballer at a World Cup to face the wrath of his manager for scoring a goal.
Everton winger Yannick Bolasie also joined in the jokes with his own light-hearted tweet moments after Januzaj’s left-footed curler past Jordan Pickford.
The DR Congo international posted a photo of Romelu Lukaku on the bench with his hand his his head alongside the caption: “S*** guys we weren’t meant to do that.”
Will England pay the price?
It’s funny because it’s true. He's now deleted the tweet, although the screenshots are still available.
Martinez, who admitted prior to kick-off that his priority wasn’t to win this final group match against England, probably thought the same thing when the ball from Januzaj’s boot hit the back of the net.
But will England’s World Cup campaign now suffer now they’ve deliberately ended their winning momentum?
We’ll find out against Colombia next week.News Now - Sport News