England, Belgium battle for top spot after Germany World Cup shock

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"We've not won a knockout game since 2006", he said in response to a journalist's question about who he would prefer to face in the semi-final.

This will be the third meeting between England and Belgium at the World Cup, with England so far unbeaten in their encounters.

By winning the match and thus the group, Belgium moves to the "side of death" for the knockout round, where four of the top five teams in the world according to Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings - Brazil, Belgium, Portugal, and Argentina - will all compete for one spot in the final.

In the other match in Group G, Tunisia notched their first win at a World Cup for 40 years, beating debutants Panama 2-1 to leave Russian Federation on a high.

It was only Belgium's second ever win over England and their first since 1936 and coach Roberto Martinez suggested he was not anxious about the impact of the result on his team's possible future opponents.

"We came here for more, so it wouldn´t be a good result for us not to reach the second round", Pekerman said.

England suffered their first World Cup defeat as they were beaten by Belgium to finish second in Group G.

Both sides made sweeping changes for the game, which was settled by a brilliant goal from Adnan Januzaj just after half-time.

Martinez has now given all 20 outfield squad players a game in the World Cup.

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TyC Sports had reported that the national team's current general manager, Jorge Burruchaga, could take control of the team. Without the five-time World Player of the Year, though, it is highly unlikely Argentina would even have qualified.

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Whoever of England and Belgium tops the group will face the second-ranked team from Group H, with the victor of the latter group to play the runner-up.

"We had a choice with our friendly matches to play teams who would be a bit easier, but we deliberately chose to play against top teams because we knew it would be better challenge".

With 15 minutes remaining, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez made a decision to introduce Vincent Kompany for Thomas Vermaelen, while England threw on Danny Welbeck as they pushed for an equaliser.

As expected, England will make some changes without affecting the spine of the side.

There is, though, something presumptuous about such talk and Colombia, a team with plenty of talent, certainly won't appreciate being considered part of an "easier path" to the quarter-finals. If Cahill gets a chance to play tonight then he will face a herculean task of keeping colleague Hazard quiet. The sides were even on points, goals scored and goal differential, meaning the victor would go on to face Japan, the Group H runner-up, next Monday in the Round of 16.

For all Southgate's insistence that victory was all in this final group game, a starting line-up containing eight changes from the win against Panama was hugely informative. "We're facing Japan, we've got to be ready for it", he said.

Now, we seem to be faced with a similar dilemma with teams that play later can engineer their performance to chart their course. The Uruguayans have the better side, but Portugal has the better player in Cristiano Ronaldo, which might be the only edge it needs.

Martinez said that to overcome years of underachievement by a country blessed with an abundance of talent it was critical to forge a deep sense of team spirit across the whole squad and to have strength in depth for the knockout campaign.

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