Published: Fri, June 29, 2018
Culture | By Henry Herrera

Why England Might Be Better Off Losing Their Final Game

Why England Might Be Better Off Losing Their Final Game

Are their strong starts legitimate or the upshot of a soft draw and an obsolete final game?

They faced each other Thursday and Belgium won 1-0 but we are none the wiser.

Belgium's Martinez was delighted with the win, saying it was impossible to plan the ideal scenario as the World Cup unfolds.

The team is to not look too far ahead in the tournament as this World Cup is very unpredictable, but instead focus on the fame against Japan. So that they'd be at the peak of their form and conditioning, in order to produce their most optimal performance and ... lose?

"I'm extremely concerned, it's a very tough situation for my team", he said.

Despite a huge scare for Lionel Messi´s Argentina, who needed a late goal from Marcos Rojo to edge through to the knockout phase on Tuesday, all of the tournament´s remaining big guns are through to the last 16 in Russian Federation.

Standing in for hotshot Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford got on the blindspot and attempted to find the top corner but his curling effort failed to hit ground. And in the process, both teams strengthened their credentials as outsiders for the title.

But Rashford rejected the notion that the setback was a "reality check", adding: "We know it's early on in the process of what we're trying to do, but this is just a chance to try and prove it today". Tunisia is ranked 51 in the world by ELO and Panama 54, leading you to wonder how they even made it into a tournament of the world's 32 best teams.

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The footballing universe are collectively hoping both teams go for a win and don't play out for a negative result.

Will they make it 3 wins out of 3? "Play to win, until the final whistle". Coming second improves your chances.

What looked like being one of the ties of the group stage instead became a rather unusual encounter given the talk about the most favourable knockout route, including suggestions that finishing runners-up may be preferable.

With all the unexpected scorelines, France, Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Uruguay have all ended up on the same side of the knock-out draw, while Spain is the only recognised superpower on the other side of the draw.

In the other Group G game, Tunisia, although eliminated, got its first win at a World Cup in 40 years, over Panama.

Around 640 kilometres (400 miles) to the northeast in Samara, Senegal, level with Japan on points, goal difference and goals scored, knew they needed a goal to nudge the Asian team out of the qualification spots.

As it stands - thanks to a few quirky results - one side of the draw appears considerably more hard.

The penultimate match of the group stages will see England take on Belgium with freaky coincidences as both teams having the exact same number of points, the exact same number of goal difference, the exact same number of goals scored, but England leads the group by fair play after receiving only 2 yellow cards compared to the 3 Belgium have. Or make an intentionally diminished effort and lose, but perhaps enable more winning later?

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