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Free World Cup 2018 betting tips: Belgium v England third place play-off

Football
England's final game at the World Cup comes against Belgium
England's final game at the World Cup comes against Belgium

England face Belgium on Saturday looking to finish third at the World Cup. Tom Carnduff has 22/1 and 28/1 best bets for the game.

Belgium v England recommended bets

0.5pt Harry Maguire to score a header at 22/1

0.5pt Marcus Rashford to score from outside the area at 28/1

For details of advised bookmakers and each-way terms, see our transparent tipping record


Belgium v England (1500 BST, ITV)

It's the game that neither of these two sides wanted to be involved in this weekend, but Belgium and England head to Saint Petersburg to decide who finishes third at this year's World Cup.

Belgium may be the favourites, with 6/5 the general price available for them to win in 90 minutes, but I think there could be value in backing Gareth Southgate's men to finish their campaign with a win.

For once, England exit a tournament on a high despite Wednesday's disappointment and the circumstances are very different to 1990, when they lost this game to Italy after a gut-wrenching shootout defeat to Germany.

That said, there's no real temptation to get stuck into short prices here and instead it could be worth anticipating more action from set-pieces, a theme for England in particular throughout the tournament.

Harry Maguire has scored one header already as he continues to be a problem for opponents at corners, and 22/1 available on him to do the same in 90 minutes looks a massive price, even allowing for the risk that he doesn't start. The flip side of that is he's unlikely to come on as a substitute and if he doesn't feature, bets will be void.

These two sides have of course already faced each other once, with the Red Devils emerging 1-0 winners. Just how relevant that result is depends on how they line-up; were this the final, it'd be worthless, but as both Roberto Martinez and Gareth Southgate will make changes, the sides may well be similar.

For England, Kieran Trippier, Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker were all forced off in Wednesday's defeat to Croatia and could miss out here. That may see the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Gary Cahill come into the starting XI.

We may also see Marcus Rashford come into the starting picture after a substitute appearance against Croatia and he's worth backing to find the net.

England celebrate Marcus Rashford's goal
England celebrate Marcus Rashford's goal against Costa Rica

Rashford scored a screamer in England's final warm-up game against Costa Rica at Elland Road, as he had against Burton and Basel for Manchester United, and his willingness to run at defenders before trying his luck makes him an interesting proposition against a potentially much-changed Belgium defence.

At 3/1 to score, Rashford is a fair bet but in a game where there are so many unknowns, a smaller wager on the generous 28/1 that he does so from outside the area is preferred. With Trippier likely absent, it's possible Rashford could even be on free-kick duty but providing he starts, the price is big regardless.

Belgium have Thomas Meunier available after he missed the loss to France and he could feature on Saturday as Belgium also freshen things up.

Adnan Januzaj scored the only goal in their Group G encounter and is entitled to feature here, while Romelu Lukaku - who is chasing Harry Kane for the Golden Boot - may be dropped in favour of Michy Batshuayi.

Batshuayi is around the 6/4 mark to strike anytime against England, although 7/2 has been available if you head to the exchanges.

He'll fancy his chances in a game where goals can be expected - there were three in the equivalent 2014 fixture, five in 2010, four in 2006, five in 2002, three in 1998, four in 1994 and three in 1990. Over 2.5 goals is 4/6 and looks banker material but given how little is at stake, we'll keep to a more speculative approach.

Score prediction: Belgium 1-2 England (Sky Bet odds: 10/1)

Best bets: Harry Maguire to score a header at 22/1

Marcus Rashford to score from outside the area at 28/1

Adnan Januzaj celebrates scoring for Belgium against England
Adnan Januzaj celebrates scoring for Belgium against England

Opta facts

  • England and Belgium meet for the second time at the 2018 World Cup, having also met at the group stage – Belgium won 1-0.
  • Before losing 1-0 to Belgium at this year’s World Cup, England had lost just one of their previous 21 meetings with them (W15 D5).
  • Belgium and England are the first teams to face twice at a World Cup tournament since Turkey played Brazil twice at the 2002 World Cup.
  • Belgium have played in this fixture once before, finishing fourth in 1986 after losing 4-2 against France.
  • Belgium have lost just two of their 26 matches under Roberto Martinez – his first in charge in September 2016 (0-2 vs Spain) and his most recent (0-1 vs France in the semi-final).
  • England had 15 shots on target in their first two 2018 World Cup matches against Tunisia (8) and Panama (7) but have had just eight in their four games since – exactly two in each match.
  • England’s only other match in a World Cup third-place play-off match was at the 1990 World Cup – they faced Italy and lost 2-1.
  • Striker Romelu Lukaku has scored 23 goals in his 23 appearances under Roberto Martinez for Belgium, though he’s not scored in any of his last three. He’s never gone four games without a goal for the national side since the Spaniard has been in charge.
  • Harry Kane has had just one shot on target in his last three World Cup matches – his penalty goal against Colombia in the Last 16. Kane hasn’t had a shot on target in his last four hours and 33 minutes of action at the World Cup.
  • England’s defeat to Croatia in their last match was their 100th competitive defeat – each of their last six competitive defeats have been at major tournaments (five at the World Cup, one at the European Championships).

Posted at 1200 BST on 13/07/18.

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