Germany loss could put England and Belgium in a quandary

Matthias Hangst  Getty Images

Matthias Hangst Getty Images

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez hailed his side's attitude after they overcame a hard first half to beat Panama 3-0 in their opening World Cup game on Monday, June 18.

The Korean team relies on Tottenham forward Son Heung-min and hopes for a strong performance from 6-foot-6 striker Kim Shin-wook, who is nicknamed "Chinook" after the Boeing tandem-rotor helicopter. Once Belgium scored there first goal, Panama became frustrated and even more physical, which ended up not working out for them at all.

The game was marked by 35 fouls and eight yellow cards, five for Panama and three for Belgium but neither side could be accused of dirty play and Gomez said England could expect more of the same in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday.

"Everyone at home wants England to win", Southgate said, "but they want to see them play well and enjoy their football and that's what I want as a coach".

He said: "I think we have learned a lot from today's game".

The two face off on June 28th in what is likely to be a Group G decider. All going to plan for these sides, first place will be up for grabs. It's a Premier League experienced backline that is the envy of any nation.

Speaking after the game, the Belgium head coach said: "I'm delighted".

Live on BBCFisht Stadium in Sochi is the most southern of all the venues being used, and also hosted the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Improving on quarter-final exits at both the 2014 World Cup and Euro 2016 has to be the aim, but Belgium's preparations have not been aided by defensive injury problems.

Perhaps a signal of the decision to come, Ciman was sent back to Belgium on Saturday to remain on standby. However, with question marks looming of Kompany's fitness after being forced off in the pre-World Cup friendly meeting with Portugal and Vermaelen remaining to Moscow rather than travelling to Sochi with the team to continue his rehabilitation for a hamstring injury sustained with Barcelona, it's a concern for the Red Devils.

No shortage of possession or territory could be blamed, but despite Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne's sniping, probing efforts to slip balls to Romelu Lukaku and the odd fiery strike from distance, Belgium looked like a team of great players short on an effective plan and low on urgency.

COACH: Roberto Martinez, the Red Devils became the first UEFA nation to qualify for Russian Federation 2018, and did so with an unbeaten record under Martinez.

Latest News