Kane benched as England, Belgium make wholesale changes

2018-06-28 19:26
Harry Kane (Getty Images)

Kaliningrad - England captain Harry Kane was left on the bench as Gareth Southgate and Belgium boss Roberto Martinez made sweeping changes with qualification for the World Cup last 16 already secured.

READ: Argentina wary but confident ahead of France - Lo Celso

Only goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, John Stones and Ruben Loftus-Cheek kept their places from the England side that thrashed Panama 6-1 on Sunday, with Kane not given the opportunity to bolster his lead in the race for the Golden Boot.

Martinez made nine changes, with Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne among those left out.

The sides are tied on goal difference and goals scored at the top of Group G, with England leading the section by virtue of a marginally better fair-play record.

The pre-match build-up has been dominated by questions over whether it would be beneficial to finish second in the group and avoid the top half of the draw, packed with heavyweights Brazil, France, Argentina, Uruguay and Portugal, until a potential final.

The group winners will face Japan in the last 16, with the runners-up meeting Colombia.

Southgate said winning in Kaliningrad was his priority to keep England's momentum going into the knockout phase but that is not reflected in his team selection.

England (3-5-2)

Jordan Pickford; Phil Jones, Gary Cahill, John Stones; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Eric Dier (capt), Fabian Delph, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Danny Rose; Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford

Coach: Gareth Southgate (Eng)

Belgium (3-4-2-1)

Thibaut Courtois (capt); Thomas Vermaelen, Dedryck Boyata, Leander Dendoncker; Nacer Chadli, Moussa Dembele, Youri Tielemans, Adnan Januzaj; Marouanne Fellaini, Thorgan Hazard; Michy Batshuayi

Coach: Roberto Martinez (ESP)

Referee: Damir Skomina


More In This Category

Thomas Mueller says the Germans' shock early exit from the World Cup will provide "huge motivation" when he starts the new season.
Russian police have unexpectedly released Pussy Riot punk group members while they still face charges for invading the pitch at the World Cup football final.
Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has pledged his continued loyalty to the Serie A outfit amid reported interest from Europe's elite clubs.
New Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui says Gareth Bale is happy at the club and will reject any transfer move to Manchester United.