FIFA World Cup 2018 | Group G: England, Belgium Look to Advance
England, who are in Group G along with Belgium, Panama and Tunisia, will be heading to Russia with no expectations, probably for the first time in the new millennium. The absence of added pressure will surely help the side
In the previous tournaments, the English fans were subjected to heartbreaks after their side, boasting the likes of David Beckham, Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, failed to live up to their hype and expectations. However, this time around, the side Lions potentially excel without the constant pressure to succeed and newly named captain Harry Kane will look to lead from the front and inspire his side.
Apart from captain Kane, they have Sterling, Rashford and Jamie Vardy up front, with Henderson in the midfield. Coach Southgate has decided to go with young Trent-Alexander-Arnold from Liverpool in defence along with senior pro Ashley Young. Veteran Joe Hart has been overlooked in favour of the new Nick Pope, Jack Butland and Jordan Pickford.
England’s only potential challenge in the group would be Belgium, who, ironically, are studded with Premier League stars. Starting with Hazard, Mertens, Lukaku in the attack. During the qualifiers, Belgium scored 43 goals and 11 came from Lukaku. Their midfield also boasts of Fellaini and De Bruyne and Kompany manning the defence.
The Roberto Martinez side not only looks good to beat England but also go a long way into the tournament.
The other two teams in the group – Tunisia and debutants Panama won’t pose much serious challenge to the two European sides in the group.
Tunisia had a great run in the qualifiers. They were unbeaten. They would like to carry on their form. Wahbi Khazri is the star player but the side has a string of injury problem.
Meanwhile, first-timers Panama eliminated USA to qualify for the World Cup. They also have injury problems with their main striker Roman Torres injured.
Belgium's 23-man preliminaryfinal squad: Koen Casteels, Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet; Toby Alderweireld, Dedryck Boyata, Vincent Kompany, Thomas Meunier, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen; Nacer Chadli, Kevin De Bruyne, Mousa Dembele, Leander Dendoncker, Marouane Fellaini, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel; Michy Batshuayi, Yannick Carrasco, Eden Hazard, Thorgan Hazard, Adnan Januzaj, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens
Panama's 23-man final squad: Jose Calderon, Jaime Penedo, Alex Rodríguez; Felipe Baloy, Harold Cummings, Eric Davis, Fidel Escobar, Adolfo Machado, Michael Murillo, Luis Ovalle, Roman Torres; Edgar Barcenas, Armando Cooper, Anibal Godoy, Gabriel Gomez, Valentin Pimentel, Alberto Quintero, Jose Luis Rodriguez; Abdiel Arroyo, Ismael Diaz, Blas Perez, Luis Tejada, Gabriel Torres
Tunisia's 23-man preliminary squad: Farouk Ben Mustapha, Moez Hassen, Aymen Mathlouthi, Rami Bedoui, Yohan Benalouane, Syam Ben Youssef, Dylan Bronn, Oussama Haddadi, Ali Maaloul, Yassine Meriah, Hamdi Nagguez, Anice Badri, Mohamed Amine Ben Amor, Ghaylene Chaalali, Ahmed Khalil, Saifeddine Khaoui, Ferjani Sassi, Ellyes Skhiri, Naim Sliti, Bassem Srarfi, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef, Saber Khalifa, Wahbi Khazr
England's 23-man final squad: Jack Butland, Nick Pope, Jordan Pickford; Fabian Delph, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Maguire, John Stones, Phil Jones, Gary Cahill; Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ashley Young, Dele Alli, Raheem Sterling; Harry Kane, Jamie Vardy, Marcus Rashford, Danny Welbeck
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