Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Sports | By Brett Lawson

England just four acts of God away from glory, confirms Southgate

England just four acts of God away from glory, confirms Southgate

Having made eight changes in the defeat by Belgium, the England manager realises he will be in for a rough ride if his side do not book a quarter-final slot with victory over Colombia.

It means England go to Moscow to face Group H winners Colombia at the Spartak Stadium on Tuesday with Belgium meeting Japan in Rostov-on-Don on Monday.

Speaking in the press conference after the game, Martinez heaped praise on everything the tournament has to offer, from its infrastructure, games, teams, organization and the people of Russian Federation themselves.

"This was a game that we wanted to win, but the knockout game is the biggest game for a decade for us so we had to make sure our key players were preserved", said Southgate.

He added: "We don't like losing and don't want to lose matches, but the primary objective from the evening we've got".

"I felt the need to sit with him, but he was brilliant, absolutely brilliant", said Southgate.

Gareth Southgate says he was impressed by England captain Harry Kane's reaction to being left out of Thursday's 1-0 loss to Belgium.

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Statistics suggest that players have an 89 percent chance of scoring if the team's last two shootouts have been successful.

"He said "look, I know everyone says I want the Golden Boot - of course it's something I want to do - but the main thing is getting the team through the first knockout".

Kane scored five goals in England's opening two wins and leads the race for the World Cup Golden Boot.

But the England manager says it is not something his players should fear and has been planning for such an eventuality since March.

"I'm a little surprised because everybody seems to be happy in England, thinking they are now on the right side of the World Cup draw because they've avoided the half with Brazil", said Eriksson, who believes his countrymen will see off Switzerland to set up the showdown with England.

Inspector Steve Love said his staff's safety was a priority, "If there's too many of them, we'll just stand back".

"We've at times had a squad with real top players and at times we've had a squad with not such outstanding players who've been in those knockout situations".

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