Live updates of the final games in group G at the Fifa World Cup as England play Belgium, Tunisia face Panama
Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku have starred in this year's World Cup, and neither may see much playing time when England and Belgium play Thursday.
Both teams have already advanced to the round of 16, and the match in Kaliningrad will only determine the Group G finishing order. The low stakes have created speculation as to how England and Belgium will use their players, and if finishing first or second in the group would be more advantageous.
The winners and runners-up will end up on different sides of the draw following the match.
Kane is the leading scorer at the World Cup with five goals, including a hat trick against Panama. Kane became the third Englishman after Geoff Hurst and Gary Lineker to score a hat trick in a World Cup match.
"He's sitting really proudly at the top. He's gone ahead of some major, major names in English football history in terms of World Cup goals," England coach Gareth Southgate said. "That should make him incredibly proud, but he also knows the team is the most important thing and we have to make decisions that are right for the team."
Lukaku has scored four goals from four shots on target for Belgium. But he did not train with the team earlier this week and will likely be rested. Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens are all nursing injuries after Belgium's 5-2 victory over Tunisia.
England and Belgium have identical records and goal tallies heading into their group decider, so a draw in Kaliningrad would mean tiebreaker rules would determine the group winner.
Southgate insisted his team will not try to lose to get an easier match in the knockout round.
"For our country, that would be a very difficult mindset to have," Southgate said. "We want to win every game of football we go into. I don't know how we would go into a game not wanting to win and not wanting to play well."
PANAMA VS. TUNISIA
Tunisia and Panama have already been eliminated so each team will be trying to leave the World Cup with a respectful performance.
Tunisia is winless in its last 13 World Cup matches, with four draws and nine losses. It's only World Cup victory was in 1978 against Mexico.
"We played two matches against better teams than us, as we were in a difficult group," Tunisia defender Hamdi Nagguez said. "Now, we should focus on the last match and win against Panama and stop this run of 40 years without winning a World Cup match."
Panama is in the World Cup for the first time but wasn't competitive in Group G and lost 6-1 to England in its second match. Even so, coach Hernan Dario Gomez has been thrilled with the tournament experience.
"I've had to play against two spectacular opponents. But that's absolutely fantastic because that's how you learn and draw conclusions and that's how you can tell where your team is," Gomez said. "There are tremendous teams here at the World Cup, all with tremendous physical fitness, with lots of tactics and good technique, good pressing and organization, speed on the pitch. I've really enjoyed watching the games at this World Cup and been very, very happy to be here."