June 28, 2018 / 5:17 PM / 3 months ago

England, Belgium make wholesale changes

KALININGRAD, Russia (Reuters) - England coach Gareth Southgate made eight changes to the side that beat Panama 6-1 for the World Cup Group G top-spot decider against Belgium on Thursday with captain Harry Kane one of those missing out.

Soccer Football - World Cup - England Training- England Training Camp, Saint Petersburg, Russia - June 25, 2018 England manager Gareth Southgate and England's Jamie Vardy during training REUTERS/Lee Smith

Jamie Vardy and Marcus Rashford start up front, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, John Stones and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford the players to retain their places in the starting side. Liverpool full back Trent Alexander-Arnold comes in for his second cap.

Belgium manager Roberto Martinez made nine changes to the side who defeated Tunisia.

As expected, Romelu Lukaku misses out with an ankle injury and Michy Batshuayi leads the line. Marouane Fellaini comes into midfield and Thorgan Hazard, Eden’s brother, also starts.

Only goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and defender Dedryck Boyata keep their spots in the team.

Both teams have qualified for the last 16 and the match will decide who tops the group.

Reporting by Peter Hall in Kaliningrad, Editing by Ed Osmond

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