INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL

AUTHOR: William Kedjanyi

STAR FOOTBALL PREVIEW Tue: England v Belgium

Neither England nor Belgium impressed over the weekend in their friendlies and both sides could do with a big performance when they meet at Wembley on Tuesday, writes WILLIAM KEDJANYI.

England looked disjointed when deservedly beaten 1-0 by Brazil on Saturday, and Belgium should have suffered the same fate against Ireland but for Evan Ferguson missing a penalty.

England, missing key forwards Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka, would not have been hugely encouraged by the way Ollie Watkins didn’t connect with his fellow attackers, whilst Phil Foden was quiet on the left in the first half and as a Number 10 in the second period. Anthony Gordon was willing and probably enhanced his chance of making the squad, but he lacked end product and Brazil clamped down hard on Jude Bellingham, whilst Declan Rice was too busy trying to clamp down on the Brazilian midfield to get forward.

The loss of Kyle Walker to a hamstring injury early on would have provided concern – although Ezra Konsi performed well in his absence – but an abysmal showing from Ben Chilwell will have fans praying for Luke Shaw and Kieran Trippier to be fit for the summer, and Conor Gallagher struggled in midfield.

With this being the last chance Southgate will have for a competitive look at his players, we can expect more changes. Kyle Walker and Harry Maguire have been ruled out of Tuesday’s game, where we could see starts for Joe Gomez, Ezri Konsa, and Jarrad Branthwaite.

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England v Belgium
International Friendly
19:45 Chanel 4 HD / Channel 4 on Demand

HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD
(Maximum 10 matches)
NOV 2020 UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE Belgium 2-0 England
OCT 2020 UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE England 2-1 Belgium
JUL 2018 WORLD CUP THIRD-PLACE PLAYOFF Belgium 2-0 England
JUN 2018 WORLD CUP England 0-1 Belgium
JUN 2012 FRIENDLY England 1-0 Belgium
OCT 1990 FRIENDLY England 2-1 Belgium
JUN 1990 WORLD CUP England 1-0 Belgium
JUN 1980 EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS Belgium 1-1 England
FEB 1970 FRIENDLY Belgium 1-3 England

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Brentford’s Ivan Toney – a ? chance to score anytime – looks likely to get his chance upfront, and there could be starts for Jarrod Bowen – who showed good intent against Brazil when coming on – and Marcus Rashford as well. It would also be no surprise if Kobbie Mainoo started in midfield, as a reward for an excellent season with Manchester United.

Belgium were arguably more disappointing against Ireland, when they had the lion’s share of possession but struggled to break down the Irish defence and were thankful for Ferguson’s penalty miss and other big opportunities going wide.

Romelu Lukaku could return from injury to lead the line and Jeremy Doku ( ? will be a major threat out wide, but otherwise they didn’t carry much threat going forward against Ireland and it’s hard to fancy their prospects too strongly on that showing.

With several changes in the offing ? about England makes no appeal and Belgium didn’t display enough against Ireland to suggest that they were obvious value even at ? . The draw at ? could be a value runner, especially if both sides struggle to find fluency early on, and the first half draw also makes plenty of appeal as well. With that in mind, the ? on a draw at half-time and full-time could be value.


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