Arsene Wenger will be pleased with Gareth Southgate's plans for Belgium clash

Romelu Lukaku in contention to face England as Belgium reveal scan results

Romelu Lukaku in contention to face England as Belgium reveal scan results

England and Belgium, already qualified from World Cup Group G, meet on Thursday in what Belgian midfielder Marouane Fellaini says could be a "strange match".

The leading goal scorers at the tournament so far are Harry Kane with five goals for England.

The England manager's first reaction was to express his considerable surprise and if, deep down, there was a measure of excitement about the World Cup losing one of the teams that historically leave England with an inferiority complex, he suppressed it well. The Belgium coach is taking this game very seriously, but he intends to make the most of his team's early qualification by giving a few starters a breather and allowing his fringe players more time on the pitch. Yet a troubled start for Germany means the Group G victor risks coming across either the defending champions or a feared Brazil earlier in the knockout rounds.

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. "Indirectly, they've had a big bearing on what we're doing now".

Harry Kane could conceivably end the day as England's all-time top goalscorer at a single World Cup.

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"It shows that with Italy and the Netherlands out before the tournament, Chile, who were in the Confederations Cup final, and now Germany, you can not relax and miss the opportunity to constantly improve".

"So I felt then that I had to make sure that if there are opportunities in life you have got to go for it".

But while the English are probably the last nation to want the burden of being billed as football's next golden generation, is it really so unrealistic to suggest that Southgate may actually be nurturing exactly that? Marcus Rashford is expected to take Raheem Sterling's place and Dele Alli is available again after training for the past two days.

"It's important we finish top", he said. We're building a team that everyone back home can see are passionate to play for England, want to win every time they go out, and are improving every time.

"We think that we need to keep winning football matches and we want to breed a mentality where everyone in our squad wants to constantly win", he told a pre-match news conference.

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