England vs Panama: Ruben Loftus-Cheek insists Three Lions will try to top group despite less favourable draw

England and Belgium have identical records going into the final group game

Jack Austin
Sunday 24 June 2018 15:45 BST
Fans celebrate England World Cup goal at Isle of Wight festival

Ruben Loftus-Cheek insists England will go all out to beat Belgium in their final Group G game, despite their route to the final looking slightly more favourable if they finished second.

The Three Lions hit Panama for six in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday, with the goal they conceded meaning that they and Belgium have identical records ahead of their meeting on Thursday evening.

Both England and Belgium have the same number of points, goals scored and goals conceding, with only a yellow card meaning Gareth Southgate’s side are top if the group.

It had been suggested that finishing second in the group would be preferable as it would mean avoiding Brazil or Germany in the quarter-finals, but Loftus-Cheek insisted England want to end the group with three wins from three.

“We will do everything exactly the same as we have been doing,” he said after the game. “Going into Belgium game we want to win, the pressure is not on to win but all the boys and staff will want to win.”

(AFP/Getty Images)

Harry Kane scored a hat-trick with John Stones scoring twice to down Panama and Loftus-Cheek was full of praise for his teammates and how they are leaders on the pitch.

“For such a young captain Harry Kane is so vocal and I think everyone respects him massively in the team,” he added.

“John Stones is such a threat from set pieces and I am delighted he got two goals. Set pieces are something we work on a lot and we are glad it is coming out on the pitch.”

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