England and Chelsea defender Gary Cahill has admitted it was “bizarre” for England to prepare to face Belgium with people suggesting it was better for them to lose
Defeat to Belgium in their final game has actually given England what appears on paper to be a more favourable knockout path to the final, though they must now face a dangerous Colombia team in the round of 16 rather than a Japan side who only qualified from Group H thanks to a better fair play record than Senegal.
Cahill insisted that the discussion ahead of the match did not affect England’s attitude on the pitch, and added that he is confident the loss will not have any lasting effects on their confidence or performance level.
“The Belgium match was a strange game and I say that because we were already qualified and facing a situation where all the teams in the knockout stage have similar ability,” Gary Cahill told the Evening Standard. “There are some very good teams in there.
“It was bizarre before the start — to be in a World Cup game where people were arguing beforehand whether it was better to finish second or first in the group.
“But we didn’t enter the game in that manner. We went to win so in that respect we are disappointed.
“I don’t think there was anything in the game. It was a great finish by them, which separated the sides. We had a couple of really good chances but there was nothing in it.”