Published: Wed, June 27, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Belgium's Lukaku a doubt for England clash, says Martinez

Belgium's Lukaku a doubt for England clash, says Martinez

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

Lukaku has announced his arrival at the competition by firing in four goals in Belgium's first two games against Panama and Tunisia, meaning he leads the scoring charts with a certain Cristiano Ronaldo. Yet a troubled start for Germany means the Group G victor risks coming across either the defending champions or a feared Brazil earlier in the knockout rounds.

A significant factor will be the physical state of the players following the 6-1 defeat of Panama which, although comfortable, was played in stifling heat in Nizhny Novgorod.

Hazard's penalty - his first goal at a World Cup finals - was the 59th goal scored in Russian Federation this summer and the 13th to be netted from the penalty spot.

"We still are top of the disciplinary count", Southgate told the BBC.

Also, fringe squad members can get game time when the pressure is off, in case they are needed unexpectedly when it really counts down the road.

And with Belgium and England both already through to the knockout stage, Martinez conceded he could change his entire outfield side for the encounter in Kaliningrad. Southgate said he was fairly indifferent on that.

Musa's brace gives Nigeria 2-0 victory vs Iceland
Following a first half that would be easily forgotten, Nigeria came out all guns blazing and were convincing winners on the day. Nigeria will have to match their endeavour, and will need a big improvement after their debacle against Croatia .

"I think we just have to keep playing as well as we can, keep preparing the team the right way, keep the momentum and I have to keep the squad involved".

"Everyone wants to look at a possible pathway", Belgium's Martinez said on Monday, while also stressing: "I don't think as a professional you can go on a pitch not wanting to win".

"So I don't think the game will be emotional in that respect".

"Come unstuck, then you open yourself up to criticism".

Gareth Southgate says it would be "dangerous territory" for England to plot a favourable World Cup path before Thursday's game against Belgium.

Small problem: the winners of Group G face the possibility of a quarter-final against Brazil or Germany.

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