Eng­land, Bel­gium both see value in third-place World Cup fin­ish.

Tampa Bay Times - - Sport - Times wires

ST. PETERS­BURG, Rus­sia — How do you stay mo­ti­vated for the game no one wants to play? Eng­land and Bel­gium have dif­fer­ent an­swers.

Af­ter both lost their World Cup semi­fi­nals, the teams have to play again in to­day’s third-place game.

As al­ways with English soc­cer, coach Gareth South­gate and his play­ers are look­ing back to the Eng­land team that won the World Cup in 1966. Beat­ing Bel­gium to­day would give Eng­land its best World Cup fin­ish since then, sur­pass­ing fourth place in Italy in 1990.

“We have a chance to win a medal at a World Cup, which only one English team has ever done, so there’s a lot of mo­ti­va­tion for us,” South­gate said Fri­day. Af­ter ex­ceed­ing ex­pec­ta­tions by reach­ing the semi­fi­nal, only to lose 2-1 to Croa­tia in ex­tra time, Eng­land wants to keep its pos­i­tive buzz.

“We’ve raised ex­pec­ta­tion, and I don’t see a prob­lem with that be­cause we’ve also raised be­lief,” South­gate said. “We’ve raised their en­joy­ment of play­ing. They now as­so­ci­ated play­ing for Eng­land with en­joy­ment, fun, and not be­ing un­der siege.”

For Bel­gium coach Roberto Martinez, it’s about leav­ing Rus­sia with a warm feel­ing and play­ing at­trac­tive foot­ball to in­spire the next gen­er­a­tion: “We want to win. When you fin­ish a tour­na­ment, you carry the feel­ing of the last game. … Ev­ery Bel­gian fan de­serves that win­ning feel­ing. For us, the way you play is essen­tial, not just for this tour­na­ment but for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Third would be Bel­gium’s best World Cup per­for­mance. It fin­ished fourth in 1986.

Watch those socks

FIFA fined Croa­tia and Swe­den $49,990 each for play­ers wear­ing non­ap­proved socks in games against Eng­land. Croa­tia faces France in Sun­day’s fi­nal. Swe­den also was pre­vi­ously fined $69,800 for sev­eral play­ers wear­ing unap­proved socks. PREMIER LEAGUE: Chelsea fired man­ager An­to­nio Conte af­ter a two-year tenure in which he won the league ti­tle and the FA Cup. Af­ter win­ning the league in his first sea­son, Conte failed to get his pre­ferred sign­ings last sum­mer and Chelsea fin­ished fifth — 30 points be­hind cham­pion Man- ch­ester City — and was elim­i­nated from the last 16 of the Cham­pi­ons League. Chelsea also missed out on Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fi­ca­tion for next sea­son, but it did win the FA Cup.

As­so­ci­ated Press

From left, Eng­land’s Trent Alexan­der-Arnold, Dele Alli, Harry Kane and, front, Fabian Delph stay loose at prac­tice the day be­fore their third-place World Cup game against Bel­gium.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.