The most pointless game in football takes place in St Petersburg on Saturday night when England and Belgium face off for the right to say they finished third at the 2018 World Cup.
Having missed out on a place in the final, both teams are expected to make changes and loosen the shackles in the hope of partly healing the wounds left by their semi-final losses.
While there might not be a great deal at stake for either team, the golden boot is on the line, with Harry Kane hopeful of retaining top spot as Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku goes in search of the hat-trick he needs to take the individual honour.
While much maligned by players and fans alike, the third place play-offs at previous World Cups have at least been entertaining encounters. Not since the 1974 World Cup has this game seen fewer than three goals scored, while five of the last six have featured at least four goals.
Given the Belgians have scored the most goals at a World Cup since the triumphant Brazil side of 2002, it stands to reason that the trend of previous goal-filled third-place play-offs will continue.
The shootout between Kane and Lukaku should also bolster the scoreline given they have 10 goals between them in Russia, although it remains to be seen whether Tottenham’s Kane features, having not looked fit against Croatia.
Lukaku has not found the back of the net in his last three appearances at this World Cup but, with 23 goals in 23 appearances since Roberto Martinez took charge of Belgium, he should be back on the goal trail again soon and is 7/2 to score first.
These two nations have already met once in this World Cup, with Belgium running out 1-0 winners in the final round of group matches as both coaches opted to rotate their squads.
With Martinez and opposite number Gareth Southgate again likely to freshen up their starting XIs, the Red Devils B team are the favourites to overcome the England reverses once more.
Referees have been keen to keep the cards in their pockets at this World Cup, with an average of 3.44 bookings per game and just four red cards shown.
With England and Belgium having amassed 16 bookings between them in 11 matches, coupled with nobody wanting to go on their summer holidays carrying an injury, it could be a quiet afternoon for the officials.
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