Did Belgium lose by beating England?

Belgium beat England, 1-0, to win Group G on Thursday and finish the first round with the best record of the 32 teams at the World Cup.

Only two other teams -- Croatia and Uruguay -- won all three games, but neither could match the Red Devils' goal difference of 9-2.

What did Belgium get for its efforts? A spot on the left side of the bracket, where it opens the knockout phase against Japan on Monday.

After that is where it could get tough.

The other six teams include former World Cup champions Brazil, Argentina, France and Uruguay as well as Portugal, the reigning European champion, and Mexico, whose seven straight appearances in the final 16 are second behind only Brazil.

For losing, England gets Colombia in the round of 16, then Sweden or Switzerland if it wins. The top half of the right side of the bracket includes Spain, the only other former champion on the right side of the bracket besides England, as well as host Russia, Croatia and Denmark.

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez, who rested nine starters against England, did not want to look ahead beyond the Red Devils' next game.

“You cannot plan the ideal scenario," he said. “You’ve seen big nations already eliminated. We need to look at ourselves, we are a stronger group than we were before the game. We’re facing Japan, we’ve got to be ready for it.”

Group G ...
Monday, June 18
3 Panama 0.
(Martens 45, Lukaku 69, 75. Att.: 43,257)
England 2 Tunisia 1.
(Kane 11, 90+1; Sassi pen. 35. Att.: 41,064.)
Saturday, June 23

5 Tunisia 2.
(Hazard pen. 6, 51, Lukaku 16, 45+3, Batshuayi 90; Bronn 18, Khazri 90+3. Att.: 44,190.)
Sunday, June 24
England 6 Panama 1.
(Stones 8, 40, Kane pen. 22, pen. 45+1, 62, Lingard 36; Baloy 78. Att.: 43,319.)
Thursday, June 28
1 England 0.
(Januzaj 51. Att.: 33,973.)
Tunisia 2 Panama 1.
(Ben Youssef 51, Khazri 66; own goal 33. Att.: 37,168.)

1. Belgium, 9 points (9-2)
2. England, 6 points (8-3)
3. Tunisia, 3 points (5-8)
4. Panama, 0 points (2-11)

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