Guaranteed of their place in the knockout rounds of the World Cup, England and Belgium faced one another tonight with one eye firmly focused on what was yet to come. Losing 1-0 to a wonderful Adnan Januzaj goal, England will now take on Colombia next Tuesday; a win there offering them what would appear a clear route to a semi-final - at least.
For Roberto Martinez and Belgium, a winnable tie against Japan will bring them up against the winners of Brazil and Mexico. Although England appear to have been afforded the more straight-forward draw, the response has been mixed.
Losing their first game of this tournament, certain members of the British media and England's fans are less than confident of the teams' chances - particularly against a dangerous Colombian side.
Not often I hope I'm wrong, but I think that was a really poor night. Gareth Southgate said he wanted to top the group, but when you bring on Welbeck over Kane at 1-0 down, clearly disproves that. Piles on the pressure.
— Daniel Storey (@danielstorey85) June 28, 2018
It would be the most England thing ever to celebrate finishing second and then lose to Colombia.
— Nooruddean (@BeardedGenius) June 28, 2018
You at 5pm: England need to be brave and finish second
You at 9pm: We'll blow it against Colombia, the momentum has gone. The sweet sweet momentum. It's over.
— Duncan Alexander (@oilysailor) June 28, 2018
England's reserves must not lose tonight... Colombia seriously good.
— John Cross (@johncrossmirror) June 28, 2018
The most England thing that could ever happen:
* Deliberately lose to Belgium to avoid Brazil in the quarters
* Immediately lose to Colombia in the second round
* Brazil get knocked out in the second round anyway
* Belgium coast through and win tournament
— Michael Deacon (@MichaelPDeacon) June 28, 2018
This is all wrong. England have arrogantly assumed we’ll get through to the quarter-finals, picked a weak team & played weakly. What if we now lose to Colombia? Madness. #ENGvBEL
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) June 28, 2018
In other quarters however, England's task now looks a good deal easier, and, fans should be confident of looking ahead to the latter stages of the tournament.
Speaking on ITV during their coverage of England's 1-0 defeat to Belgium tonight, Gary Neville was among those feeling very happy with the road ahead:
The country has been euphoric and everyone has been overly positive in the last week. We should now be the most positive we've ever been.
That's not being arrogant, it's not being ignorant - we could lose against Colombia on Tuesday, there is no doubt.
If you thank back to 1990 when we had Cameroon and Belgium to get to a World Cup semi-final, we've now got an opportunity to beat Colombia and Sweden or Switzerland to get to a World Cup semi-final.
Citing England's unfortunate draws in recent World Cup campaigns, Neville went on to state his belief that the players should be aware of the chance they have in front of them.
can’t believe gary neville is talking about a world cup semi final after england just lost to belgium B. colombia so much more dangerous than japan. best of luck with that
— Ken Early (@kenearlys) June 28, 2018
Gary Neville says England only have to win 2 more matches and they will be in the semi's. Might as well give them the cup now and we'll all go to the beach !
— Eamonn O' Donnell (@bobolink5) June 28, 2018
Gary Neville @gnev2 mapping out the route to the semi final is deluded. England had far more chance of getting to the quarters against Japan. Completely deluded. England deserve to get whacked by Colombia after that garbage this evening. #WorldCup
— Adam Gordon (@Adam_W_Gordon) June 28, 2018