Belgium in focus ahead of World Cup clash with England

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England go head-to-head with Belgium on Thursday to decide who tops Group G with both teams already qualified.

Press Association Sport’s Carl Markham takes a closer look at one of the pre-tournament favourites to win the World Cup.

How did they get to Russia?

Belgium became the first European nation to qualify for the World Cup after the hosts, booking their spot in September last year. The Red Devils ran away with their group, finishing nine points ahead of second-placed Greece having won nine and drawn one of their 10 matches. They scored 43 goals – more than the combined total of four of their group opponents Greece, Estonia, Cyprus and Gibraltar – and conceded just six. Romelu Lukaku contributed 11 and Eden Hazard six.

Who is the coach?

Roberto Martinez's Premier League experience will stand him in good stead as he prepares to face England.
Roberto Martinez’s Premier League experience will stand him in good stead as he prepares to face England (Hassan Ammar/AP)

What can we expect from them?

Getting sharper.. Good win ⚽️ @belgianreddevils

A post shared by Romelu Lukaku (@romelulukaku) on

What is their recent form?

Impressive to say the least. At this tournament already they have swept aside Panama and Tunisia with very little fuss. They have not lost since September 1, 2016 and arrived in Russia on the back of a tide of goals having failed to score more than once on just two occasions, one of which was a goalless draw against European champions Portugal earlier this month.

Who is the player to watch?

Take your pick, you are spoiled for choice. Lukaku has claimed the headlines after four goals in his first two World Cup matches but Belgium are far more nuanced than relying on the big centre-forward. Hazard is the man they look for to make things happen in the final third and he already has two goals. England’s defenders will have seen enough of him in the Premier League to know what he is capable of but stopping him on this stage may be something different.

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