NIZHNY NOVGOROD. — Sadly for the fans at the World Cup, Belgium and England are ready to rest and rotate in their match tonight.
The match kicks-off at 8pm.
In it for the long haul, they face a World Cup reality that could strip some of the flavour from a mouthwatering group decider between two English Premier League-rich squads and two of the tournament’s high-scoring teams.
Both have already qualified for the last 16 — only the group winner needs to be decided — so tonight’s Group G finale in Kaliningrad provides a rare chance in an unrelenting World Cup schedule to rest tired legs, recover from injuries and avoid the risk of suspensions.
Also, fringe squad members can get game time when the pressure is off, in case they are needed unexpectedly when it really counts down the road.
And so the big individual matchups that held so much intrigue a week ago may not materialise.
“It will be major (team) changes against England,” Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said. “The reality is that we are qualified and in a tournament like the World Cup, you’re only as good as the 23 players (in the squad).