21st June 2024

England travel to Belgium on Sunday night for their must-win Nations League clash, with Gareth Southgate hoping his team can do the double over the world’s highest ranked team.

The Three Lions boss saw his team beat Belgium 2-1 at Wembley in October and needs a repeat if England want to keep their hopes of qualifying for next summer’s finals alive.

Southgate’s men are third in League A Group 2, level on seven points with Denmark who face Iceland at the same time on Sunday. England have already avoided relegation, with the hapless Iceland anchored to the bottom of the pool, but should Belgium beat them then the Red Devils will have secured the one and only qualification spot for next year’s mini tournament.

If England and Belgium draw and Denmark win then qualification will go down to the final round of fixtures on Wednesday night, with all three nations in with a chance to qualify.

Here’s how we at 90min believe England should line up.

1. Goalkeepers and Defenders

Jordan Pickford (GK): Despite recent controversies, Pickford remains England’s number one and is expected to start between the sticks. Rested against Ireland on Thursday night, so all signs point to him being in Sunday’s XI.

Kyle Walker (CB): The Manchester City man didn’t have the best game coming into the international break, clumsily conceding a penalty against Liverpool, but he is expected to feature on Sunday night.

Eric Dier (CB): Has had a good season so far, playing well for Tottenham, and will likely play in the middle of England’s back three having been rested on Thursday night.

Michael Keane (CB): Had a good game on Thursday and looks set to play on the left of the back line following Harry Maguire’s suspension for his red card against Denmark.

2. Wing Backs & Midfielders

Kieran Trippier (RWB): Will likely come in for the suspended Reece James and provide experience defensively. His crosses are also pretty deadly, so Southgate will be hoping he can get forward regularly.

Jordan Henderson (CM): Having been rested against Ireland, the Liverpool captain is expected to start and command the midfield against Belgium.

Declan Rice (CM): Expected to feature in the midfield two and provide solidity against a potent and creative Belgian attack.

Ben Chilwell (LWB): Despite a solid performance on Thursday, Bukayo Saka will likely be replaced by Chilwell. While providing good defensive capabilities, the Chelsea man also has four goal contributions in five Premier League games from wing back so far this season

3. Forwards

Jadon Sancho (RW): The Borussia Dortmund winger is expected to start in the absence of Marcus Rashford and will look to build on the goal he scored against Ireland last time out.

Harry Kane (ST): The England captain is a guaranteed starter in a game like this and will look to dominate the opposition defence as he has done so frequently this campaign. Will be in for an interesting battle against Spurs teammate Toby Alderweireld.

Raheem Sterling (LW): Thomas Meunier is in for a torrid time as he is expected to face City winger Sterling, who will likely start on the left of the front three having also been rested for Thursday’s friendly.

Source: 90mins

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