World Cup Group G: England to upset undercooked Belgians?

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The World Cup is just days away now and our World Cup preview moves steadily onwards.

Here, we preview the fortunes of Group G, involving Belgium, England, Tunisia, and Panama. Reports are circulating that all is not well in the Belgian camp.

Can Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions upset the applecart?

Belgium

FIFA Ranking: 3rd

Manager: Roberto Martinez.

Qualification: Strolled through qualifying winning nine of their 10 fixtures. The Red Devils finished a massive nine points clear of second place Greece.

Star player: Take your pick, but Kevin De Bruyne, probably.

How far will they go: It really depends on if they finish first or second in the group. If they manage to top it, they could have a nice route through to the semi-finals. However, there have been rumours of rifts in the camp amongst the senior stars.

Odds to win World Cup: 10/1.

Fun fact: Belgium manager Roberto Martinez once played for Chester City.

England

FIFA Ranking: 12th

Manager: Gareth Southgate.

Qualification: As usual, England easily qualified for the summer showpiece, finishing eight points clear of Slovakia.

Star player: Harry Kane.

How far will they go: A quarter-final will be seen as tangible progress under Southgate. But, depending on if they finish first, they could conceivably make it to the semi-finals.

Odds to win World Cup: 14/1.

Fun fact: In the 1966 World Cup held in England, the game between France and Uruguay had to be moved to accommodate greyhound racing at Wembley.

Tunisia

FIFA ranking: 21st

Manager: Nabil Maaloul.

Qualification: Topped a group unbeaten involving Congo DR, Libya, and Guinea, winning four and drawing two.

Star player: Wahbi Khazri.

How far will they go: Tunisia will need to overcome the fact that they have never made it out of the group on four other occasions at a World Cup. And it’s unlikely here too against Belgium and England.

Odds to win World Cup: 500/1.

Fun fact: The side are nicknamed ‘The Eagles of Carthage’, which is basically a great name for a band.

Panama

FIFA ranking: 55th.

Manager: Hernán Darío Gómez.

Qualification: Dramatically qualified via a 2-1 victory over Costa Rica which eliminated the United States. And that included a ghost goal in the win!

Star player: Roman Torres.

How far will they go: Unlikely to make it out of the group but will probably be happy with at least a point from the three games.

Odds to win World Cup: 1000/1.

Fun fact: This is Panama’s first time at a World Cup.

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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.