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England vs Colombia biggest game for a decade Gareth Southgate

30 June 2018

British Prime Minister Theresa May is used to being isolated in Europe and looked to be on her own again on Thursday in Brussels as England faced Belgium at the World Cup.

Much of the pregame chatter had revolved around whether England would be better off finishing as runners-up, with Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Uruguay, France and Argentina all lined up on the group winners' side of the bracket.

Players like Danny Rose, Rashford and Eric Dier would have hoped to press their case for inclusion in the knockout stages, but Smith felt the game instead cemented Gareth Southgate's first-choice line-up in his mind.

"We have no idea who, when or where we will play in the next round, but we are pleased we are in it".

You know, as I was watching the final minutes of Japan's match with Poland, and Senegal's loss to Colombia, I remember wishing that FIFA's World Cup tiebreaker wasn't fair play points, but rather which team I enjoy watching more.

Southgate made the bold decision to leave captain and tournament top scorer Harry Kane, who had scored five goals in the first two matches against Tunisia and Panama, on the bench and he did not bring the Spurs striker on.

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England go into the Thursday's game in Kaliningrad having secured progression to the last-16 with a game to spare, four years after crashing out at the group stage in Brazil. "We are in the fortunate position", Southgate said. "When the coach [Hernan Dario Gomez] said we were coming here to learn, that is exactly what he meant", explained Baloy.

We now know our eight second-round matches, with some mouthwatering contests on offer. He's the best player on the Colombian squad, and it's hard to imagine them getting past England if he can't play.

"I think it was a pretty even game".

"We are happy that tomorrow is probably one day too early, but I don't think he is going to take any longer than that", he said. It was a good test for us.

"Everyone's seen the level that we've been playing at and we've got to keep improving". We had half an eye on the knockout.

England vs Colombia biggest game for a decade Gareth Southgate