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Live on Sky: England vs Belgium preview

Watch England vs Belgium live on Sky Sports Main Event from 4pm and Sky Sports Football from 4.30pm or follow in our dedicated match blog on Sky Sports website and app; watch in-game goals and free match highlights shortly after full-time

Friday 9 October 2020 19:01, UK

Team news and stats ahead of England vs Belgium in the Nations League live on Sky Sports (kick-off 5pm).

Gareth Southgate said Tammy Abraham, Ben Chilwell and Jadon Sancho face a battle to win their spots back after the England manager was impressed by the performance of the experimental side he fielded in Thursday’s 3-0 victory against Wales.

Abraham, Chilwell and Sancho missed the friendly at Wembley Stadium after they breached COVID-19 regulations at the weekend.

In their absence, Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Wolves defender Conor Coady and Southampton striker Danny Ings scored their first international goals, while Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka also impressed on their first England starts.

England face Belgium in the Nations League on Sunday followed by Denmark on Wednesday.

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A late equaliser from the penalty spot earned Ivory Coast a 1-1 draw with England’s next opponents in a friendly on Thursday, ending a run of 12 successive victories for the top team in the world rankings.

Michy Batshuayi converted from close range to give Belgium a 53rd-minute lead but Franck Kessie equalised for the visitors from the spot with four minutes remaining.

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Team news

Chilwell has been ruled out after his arrival to the squad was delayed further with a non-Covid related illness. Abraham and Sancho have had coronavirus tests to determine whether they can join up with England squad in the next 24 hours.

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Southgate and FA officials will decide in the coming days if Chilwell is well enough to join the camp in time to play against Denmark on Wednesday, live on Sky Sports, at which point he would undergo further coronavirus testing.

Belgium are confident defender Jan Vertonghen will be able to line up despite a broken cheekbone suffered three weeks ago.

“The medical staff must first give us the OK, but it is looking good,” said coach Roberto Martinez ahead of the Nations League game at Wembley on Sunday.

Vertonghen was hurt playing for his new Portuguese club Benfica last month and sat out their league game against Farense last Sunday, but then surprisingly travelled to join up with the Belgium squad.

He was not included in Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Ivory Coast in Brussels but is in line to play against England in the Nations League clash on Sunday and also away the game away against Iceland next Wednesday.

If he plays on Sunday, it is quick return to London for the 33-year-old defender, who did not have his contract at Tottenham renewed last season, joining Benfica instead on a three-year deal. He would also renew his defensive partnership with ex-Spurs team-mate Toby Alderweireld.

Belgium have a goalkeeping crisis after Thibaut Courtois (hip) became the third to be ruled out for Sunday’s game. Hendrik Van Crombrugge and Koen Casteels were already out so former Liverpool stopper Simon Mignolet is expected to step in between the posts.

The Belgians rested almost all their regulars against Ivory Coast with Alexis Saelemakers one of five debutants used by coach Martinez, but they are expected to go with their strongest possible line-up on Sunday.

How to follow



England
Belgium

England vs Belgium will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Main Event from 4pm; Kick-off at 5pm. Sky Sports customers can watch in-game goals in the live match blog on the Sky Sports website and app. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel shortly after the final whistle.

What the managers said

England manager Gareth Southgate: “Whenever we give debuts or get guys who deserve their chance who have been in the squad for a while time on the pitch there’s opportunity for them to grab a place and push themselves up the pecking order. Several did that against Wales and there is competition for places. Not just the squad we named, other players are outside that.”

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez: “Now that we’ve been able to extend the numbers in the squad and that opens a very good window for us to have a lot of debutants, a lot of emerging and young talent in the team.

“They’ve earned the opportunity to be in the national team and now we will see what they can do and if they can add competition into the group.

Comment: Southgate’s selection dilemmas vs Belgium

After seeing off Wales 3-0 in Thursday’s friendly, England return to competitive action on Sunday against the world’s No 1-ranked side, Belgium. So how will Gareth Southgate refresh his line-up for this tough Nations League test?

The England manager has already made clear he will be rotating his starting XI throughout this triple-header of international games, but with Belgium England’s hardest opponents, and the result of the Wembley clash likely to be key to the Three Lions’ hopes of making the semi-finals for the second time in a row, he will surely be looking to field his strongest XI.

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Opta stats

  • England lost just one of their first 21 matches against Belgium (W15 D5) but have since lost each of their last two games against the Belgians, both at the 2018 World Cup.
  • Belgium are looking to become the first team since France between 2004 and 2010 to win three consecutive games against England, and only the fourth in three consecutive competitive games, after Scotland (1962-64), Italy (1980-97) and Brazil (1962-2002).
  • Since losing 4-1 against Germany at the 2010 World Cup, England haven’t lost a match on a Sunday (P13 W9 D4), winning five of their six Sunday matches under Gareth Southgate.
  • England have kept a clean sheet in each of their last six matches – should they keep a clean sheet against Belgium, it will be the longest run of games without conceding in the national side’s history.
  • England have won 19 of their last 20 competitive home matches (L1), the only loss in this run being a 1-2 defeat at the hands of Spain in September 2018.
  • Belgium have scored in each of their last 19 away matches, scoring 54 goals (W15 D2 L2), while scoring at least twice in 16 of those 19 games, including each of their last 13 (38 goals scored).
  • Harry Kane has been directly involved in 10 goals in his last five home matches for England (nine goals & one assist), scoring two hat-tricks in this run – against Bulgaria in September 2019 and Montenegro in November 2019, in what was his most recent home game; the only previous player to score a hat-trick in consecutive home appearances for England was Tommy Taylor between 1956 and 1957 versus Denmark and the Republic of Ireland.
  • Belgium striker Michy Batshauyi has scored four goals in two UEFA Nations League starts – both against Iceland – although Batshuayi has never scored at Wembley in four previous club appearances, all with Chelsea in 2017, netting an own goal three minutes after coming on as a substitute in August 2017 against Spurs.

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