England have booked their place in the last 16 of the World Cup, but the identity of their opponents in the next stage won’t be finalised until the final round of group games on Thursday June 28.
The Three Lions are currently leading Group G ahead of Belgium by virtue of fair play points, but that could change depending on the outcome of their match against the Red Devils on Thursday.
As laid out before the tournament kicked off, Group G’s representatives will be paired with the teams that emerge from Group H.
However, while England and Belgium are both assured of their place in the next round, Group H was much more volatile and three teams remained in with a chance of going through in the last matchday.
With Group H decided, there are now two possible outcomes for England, depending on how they do against Belgium.
If England draw with (provided they still have a better fair play points tally) or defeat Belgium in their final game of Group G they will finish top, meaning that they will face the runner-up from Group H.
However, if they lose to Eden Hazard and Co. they will be paired with the Group H winners.
Who could England face in the last 16 of the World Cup?
England will end up facing one of Japan or Colombia in the last 16 in Russia.
In the event that England top their group a last 16 match-up with Japan could happen after Japan lost to Poland and Colombia defeated Senegal.
The Blue Samurai finished the group on the exact same points, goal difference and goals scored as Senegal, clinching second place by virtue of their superior discipline.
A worst case scenario for England in the last 16 would probably be a meeting with Colombia, who topped Group H after defeating Senegal in their final match.
If England manage to finish top of Group G, they’ll avoid the South American side, but if they lose to Belgium or draw (while posting an inferior fair play tally), they will finish second and therefore take on Colombia.
Q – team has qualified for last 16
E – team has been eliminated