World Cup 2018: No Wholesale Changes Against Belgium, Says England Coach Gareth Southgate

Updated: 13 July 2018 20:54 IST

Gareth Southgate insisted that England would take the game against Belgium for the third place play-off seriously.

World Cup 2018: No Wholesale Changes Against Belgium, Says England Coach Gareth Southgate
Southgate said England would take the Belgium game seriously © AFP

England coach Gareth Southgate will not make wholesale changes to his team when England play Belgium in Saturday's third place play-off at the 2018 World Cup. The game for the third and fourth places has been seen at times as unnecessary and unpopular with teams who have suffered the disappointment of losing their semi-finals and missing out on a place in the final, but speaking to reporters on Friday, Southgate insisted that England would take the game seriously, reports Efe. "It's obviously been a couple of really difficult days for us, but I've got to say the players are incredible," said Southgate, who said England would not relax against Belgium as they look to seal their second-best finish ever in the World Cup.

"We owe it as much to ourselves as to the nation that we finish the tournament well," he said. Southgate made nine changes in England's 0-1 loss to Belgium in their last Group G game when both teams were already assured of a place in the last 16. But despite having less time to recover and prepare for Saturday's game than Belgium, the coach won't be repeating that tactic.

"Everybody wants to play but it won't be exactly the same starting XI (as against Croatia on Wednesday). We want to make as few changes as possible," he commented. 

The England coach added that Belgium would also want to end their World Cup on a high note. 

"Belgium have had an exceptional tournament ... They will want to finish well but so will we. It'll be a good test for us and we haven't been able to beat these top teams yet," he said.

He added that England would move into the top-10 in the FIFA rankings after the World Cup, but still needed to improve if they want to compete with the best sides in the world on a regular basis. 

Southgate was optimistic that the performance in Russia has brought the team and supporters closer together.

"The public have probably enjoyed the way that we've played, they've got to know the players a little bit better, I think. I feel there will be an affinity there," concluded Southgate.

Comments
Topics : England Belgium 2018 FIFA World Cup Belgium vs England, 3rd Place Playoff Football
Highlights
  • England coach Gareth Southgate will not make wholesale changes
  • England play Belgium in Saturday's third place play-off
  • England and Belgium were placed in the same World Cup group
Related Articles
England Beat Croatia To Reach Nations League Final Four
England Beat Croatia To Reach Nations League Final Four
Wembley Farewell A Sign Of Things To Come For Former Greats, Says Wayne Rooney
Wembley Farewell A Sign Of Things To Come For Former Greats, Says Wayne Rooney
Ex-England And Chelsea Midfielder Joe Cole Retires
Ex-England And Chelsea Midfielder Joe Cole Retires
Dele Alli Signs New Tottenham Hotspur Deal
Dele Alli Signs New Tottenham Hotspur Deal
Former Number One Joe Hart Has Heart Set On Regaining England Spot
Former Number One Joe Hart Has Heart Set On Regaining England Spot
Advertisement