Belgium defender Toby Alderweireld sets sights on victory against England
The Tottenham defender could come up against some familiar faces in Kaliningrad.
Toby Alderweireld has warned England that Belgium will have nothing but victory in mind in their World Cup Group G showdown in Kaliningrad.
The sides will battle it out for top spot in the pool having both seen off Tunisia and Panama to set up a highly anticipated meeting in which the winners will claim top spot.
They are currently locked together on six points with the same goal difference, having scored and conceded the same number of goals, although England are currently ahead by virtue of fewer bookings.
Amid a debate over whether it would be better to finish first or second, Alderweireld told a press conference: “We are going to try to win the game, because as a footballer you want to win every game.”
The defender, who has started both of his side’s games to date, is one of three Tottenham players in Belgium’s squad alongside Jan Vertonghen and Mousa Dembele, and could be surrounded by more familiar faces if he keeps his place on Thursday with club-mates Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane among the England ranks.
Quoted by Belgian Red Devils on Twitter, he said: “Before the World Cup, in the Spurs dressing room, we spoke a lot about the game against England. We are looking forward to it.
“England will be a very good test. I am ready if the coach needs me.”
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has hinted he will use the depth of his squad despite what is at stake in the game, although it remains to be seen whether striker Romelu Lukaku will be fit to play any part.
The Manchester United frontman suffered an ankle injury during Saturday’s 5-2 win over Tunisia and did not train on Tuesday morning after having a scan the previous day.
But club-mate Marouane Fellaini, who was used as a substitute in that game, is confident that even a much-changed side would do the job required.
He said: “If we want to go far in this World Cup, we will need every player. Everybody is ready to play, everybody wants to play.
“It will be an interesting game against England, but it will be a strange one also because both teams are qualified.”
Like Alderweireld, Fellaini will know some of his potential opponents very well, and he was full of praise for United and England midfielder Jesse Lingard.
He said: “He’s a very clever player on the pitch and we have seen that. He has done very well in the last few years – that’s why he plays for Manchester United.
“He’s a great person, a great character. He loves a joke and a laugh and, in the group, that’s important.”