'Motivated England should nick this' - Henry Abiodun tips Three Lions over Belgium

The Owena Whales gaffer says he expects a tough encounter between both teams but that the Three Lions will pip the Red Devils

Sunshine Stars coach, Henry Abiodun is backing England to narrowly edge Belgium in Saturday’s third-place match of the Russia 2018 World Cup.

The match slated for the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg will feature the Three Lions who will be seeking a revenge on the Red Devils who pinned them 1-0 during the group stage of the ongoing world showpiece.

Irrespective of the outcome between both sides during the group stage Abiodun believes that the English national team will be more motivated to seek the jugular of their opponents because of the positive vibes in the camp of their camp and the adulation they have received from all and sundry despite their semi-final loss to Croatia.

He said England have a score to settle with the Red Devils and that the drive not to lose again to the same side at the same competition will propel them to go all out against Roberto Martinez’s men at Saint Petersburg.      

“It will be difficult for both teams initially because they expected to play in the final but now have to settle for third place,” Abiodun told Goal.

“Both coaches must have done a lot of psychological work on the players to lift their spirits. They must work with them mentally because this was a tournament with 32 teams and if you are in the last four and fighting to get a third place ticket I think it is still an honour.

For England, I think with the way they have been praised by their fans and football enthusiasts in the aftermath of their semi-final loss they should be the favourites going into the game. They will like to win the game to at least take something home. Don’t forget that at the group stage Belgium defeated England 1-0. The pep talk from the Three Lion manager, Gareth Southgate will no doubt be crucial.

“Belgium too will like to prove to the world that it wasn’t a fluke getting to the semi-final of the World Cup. It is still going to be a very difficult game. I expect both teams to start slowly and once either of the teams scores a goal, it will become very competitive.”

The Owena Whales manager also expects a highly tactical and cagey affair in the penultimate game to the end of the 2018 World Cup: “It is until you see the game plan of both teams that you can determine who is superior.

“If you look at the ongoing World Cup, the moment the competition got to the second round until now it has been the coaches game rather that of the players. Every game has been coming with a different game plan.

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“When you come with your game plan and you are lucky it works out fine you win but if it doesn’t work out fine you also bear the brunt. You saw the way the Belgians played against Brazil and it was a different game plan when they played against France.

"It was the same with England against Croatia they relied on their outstanding speed. Who knows what they are going to do in the third place? They have played themselves before and they know what to expect. I must tell you that both teams have done very well.”