England suffered their first defeat in just over a year at the World Cup tonight, losing to Belgium in a game the Three Lions won’t be too upset about losing, given that it could mean avoiding Brazil should Gareth Southgate’s men overcome Colombia.
On the Manchester City front, Raheem Sterling and Kyle Walker were rested after featuring in the first two games, while John Stones was again on the team-sheet and Fabian Delph enjoyed his first start. For Belgium, both Kevin De Bruyne and Vincent Kompany were named on the subs bench.
There was concerning news for England though when Stones, who has impressed in Russia, went off at half-time, being replaced by Harry Maguire. The substitution did not appear to be tactical, with TV cameras picking up Stones wearing some heavy strapping around his left calf area.
The hope will be that it was just precautionary and that Stones won’t miss England’s Round of 16 clash with Colombia on Tuesday.
UPDATE: It appears to be good news with Gareh Southgate confirming Stones’ problem isn’t serious.
Southgate says Stones does not have any injury issue and will be fit for #col. Plan was always to give him and Maguire 45 minutes each.
— James Olley (@JamesOlley) June 28, 2018
In other news, City skipper Kompany returned from injury after previously playing no part in the competition, replacing Thomas Vermaelen in the 74th minute and getting just over 15 minutes in his legs.
Belgium now face Japan in the Round of 16 and the winners will go on to face either Brazil or Mexico. For England, victory over Colombia, no easy task, would see them take on the victors of Sweden vs. Switzerland.
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john stones, vincent kompany, world cup 2018