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Following the much changed sides from both England and Belgium, fans were quick to make links of the two teams wanting to lose.

Before the tournament started, winning the group would have been the priority for both England and Belgium, as the runners-up were expected to find themselves on the same side of the draw as Germany and Argentina.

But in Belgium they face the world's third-ranked side, and a squad loaded with world-class talent such as Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne.

Players such as Jordan Henderson, who covered more than 10 km against minnows Panama, are happy to take on the role of unsung hero in the centre of midfield, and free up space for flair players such as Jesse Lingard.

"England must prepare and approach this game versus Belgium as if it was a knock out match - top the group and then and only then think about your next opponent".

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"We think that we need to keep winning football matches and we want to breed a mentality that everybody in our squad consistently wants to win", he said in his pre-match press conference.

England is unbeaten in the previous 11 meetings with Belgium, and is unbeaten in the 2 matches both teams have played in the World Cup.

Southgate hinted that he would make some changes to his starting 11 but did not go into specifics.

You can only assume that many other footballers and fans alike are feeling the same way after seeing the line-ups, with Belgium making nine changes from their 5-2 win over Tunisia, and the Three Lions have made eight alterations following a 6-1 demolition against Panama.

Unlike Southgate, the former Everton and Wigan manager said he was approaching Thursday's game with one eye firmly on the knockout rounds. That is the reality, we have put ourselves in this situation, we wanted to qualify and we have done that.

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The Argentine federation was even forced to confirm that Jorge Sampaoli would continue for the final group game amid rumours of a rift between players and coach.

Topping Group "G" means playing whoever will have finished second in Group H earlier on Thursday - Colombia, Senegal or Japan. Indeed Gareth Southgate will have seen enough from the way Senegal played against the Colombians to appreciate they are by no means unbeatable.

After years of struggling to progress to the latter stages, James Rodriguez´s tournament-topping six goals steered Colombia to their best-ever finish of the quarter-finals in Brazil four years ago.

But Southgate refused to entertain such a thought.

"We've got loads of friends who were umming and ahhing whether to come", he said.

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