England are very strong but Belgium are better - Meunier

The Paris Saint-Germain defender is confident his national team can prevail against their Group G rivals at the World Cup

Thomas Meunier believes Belgium’s Group G rivals England are looking "very strong" ahead of their opening World Cup game in Russia.

Belgium and England are the favourites to progress from a pool also containing Panama and Tunisia, and will meet in the final round of fixtures.

That match in Kaliningrad on June 28 is expected to decide who will progress to the last 16 as group winners and Meunier feels Gareth Southgate’s England are a team going in the right direction.

“Well, they’re very strong, with a strong defence,” the full-back told Goal. “For example, Kyle Walker can make the difference. Harry Kane, Dele Alli are instinctive players.

“They have good individuals but, as a unit, I think we’ve got a well-oiled team and we’re getting better. We saw it during qualification, I can see it during training sessions, we’ve got a lot of desire, investment.”

Belgium, with former Everton manager Roberto Martinez at the helm, have taken a 23-man squad to Russia that contains 12 players who ply their trade in the Premier League.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Meunier believes that it is an advantage for Belgium to have so many of their squad playing in England because it will ensure they are familiar with Southgate’s side.

Article continues below

He added: “The fact that most of our team play in the Premier League is an advantage because we know how they play. All the players who are in the Three Lions are known by my team-mates, or myself, even if I only watch them. We hold the cards to beat them.

“England have always had incredible teams, but they are in a reconstruction phase, in progression, whereas we have a more confirmed team in my opinion.

“We will meet them in the third game so, if we each have six points, which I hope, maybe the coach will make a turnover. We’ve got a chance to beat them. They have very good players, good individuals but, to me, we’re better.”