Who will be the key players for Belgium v England?

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It’s the big one today as England clash with Belgium in Kaliningrad to decide who tops Group G.

It’s a big game for both sides. This will be their first big test. England are riding the crest of a wave of optimism right now. Football is coming home. Or at least it could be. But Belgium will represent their first big test.

However, both managers are expected to rotate heavily for this game having already qualified for the knockout phase. There’s also the little issue of second-place having a slightly easier route through the rounds.

The Ladbrokes News crew predict who could be the key Red Devils who’ll be out to stop the Three Lions…

Mousa Dembele

One player who is expected to start is Tottenham Hotspurs’ midfield lynchpin, Mousa Dembele.

The powerful midfielder will be expected to dominate the central area against his club team-mate, Eric Dier. His driving runs and ability to navigate tight areas will be imperative if Belgium are to be successful.

His knowledge of England’s squad will also be vital when shutting down the Three Lions’ counter-attack.

Michy Batshuayi

Romelu Lukaku has been a big player for Belgium in this tournament. However, the big Manchester United striker misses out here with a slight knock.

That hands Chelsea forward Michy Batshuayi the chance to shine. The 24-year-old has struggled for consistency and game-time at Stamford Bridge. But he racked up a load of goals in a five-month loan spell at Borussia Dortmund this year.

The ex-Anderlecht ace has all the tools to trouble an England back-line that has looked far from secure.

Thorgan Hazard

Eden Hazard is likely to miss out for the Red Devils tonight with a slight injury. But the Hazard household will still need to keep their eyes peeled to the TV as younger sibling Thorgan should take his place.

The Borussia Monchengladbach ace looks likely to start on the left of a front three. And the 25-year-old has all the hallmarks of a Hazard. He’s fleet-footed, quick, and has an eye for goal.

Youri Tielemans

Long heralded as the golden boy of Belgian football, Tielemans finally left Anderlecht to join Monaco last summer.

The 21-year-old is a phenomenal midfield talent and showed his range of skills with a quality assist for Batshuayi against Tunisia.

He’ll float between the lines looking for space to pick key passes. So Dier and his midfield colleagues will need to keep a watchful eye on him.

Click here for all our England v Belgium odds.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing

 

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Cian Carroll

Starting life as a football columnist for his local paper in Dundalk, Cian has written for a number of media outlets with pieces published in The Birmingham Mail and Spain’s El Mundo Deportivo. A lover of football, GAA, boxing, rugby and MMA, he’s a big Aston Villa and Dundalk fan. He can be regularly spotted on various mountain tops.