Why are England/Belgium preferring to finish second?

I’ve been reading loads of reports that England would rather finish 2nd in their World Cup group whilst Belgium have said they’ll be resting players against England – it got me wondering why. Once I worked it out – it all makes sense.

I know this is a pointless post – because if you read any of the British tabloids, England have already won the World Cup after beating Tunisia and Panama. “It’s coming home”. But for the rest of us with sane minds – lets take a look at what lies ahead and why they’d possibly be happy to finish second by thinking it would be an easier route.

This is how the group currently stands. Equal on goals for, goals against and then obviously goal difference. England have received one less yellow card – putting them top.  If they draw their final match and Belgium get one more yellow card than England do, they’ll draw lots.

So, the winner of the group then faces the runner up of Group H and the runner up faces the winner of Group H.

* For the sake of this article – lets say England finish second *

Colombia play Senegal in the final game of this group which, sadly, I think they’ll win that match and Japan should beat the sub par Poles. Meaning Japan finish top and Colombia finish second.

Round of 16:



Much of a much here, maybe England with a slightly harder draw.

If Belgium and England get to the quarters, Belgium would play the team progressing from the match between the winner of Group E and runner up of Group F.


I’d say Brazil will win Group E and Germany will finish runner up in Group F, meaning a HUGE last 16 tie between these heavy-weights. The winner of that (anyone’s guess) will then face Belgium.

England then, by finishing second in their group and getting past Colombia, will then face the team progressing from the match between the winner of Group F and the runner up of Group E. So probably Mexico v Switzerland.

If this all happens,




With this in mind – I now clearly see how both sides would prefer to lose the fixture and finish second in their group. The only way it may change is if Sweden beat Mexico and Germany win their game to finish top. But Brazil/Germany vs winner of Group G in the quarters looks very plausible at the moment.

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