Jesse Lingard has reacted to claims suggesting England have a favourable route to the 2018 World Cup Final after finishing second in Group G.
Gareth Southgate’s side faced Belgium in Moscow on Thursday night where the winner was to finish top of the group, however, would also arguably face a tougher run to lifting the trophy.
Belgium ran out 1-0 winners courtesy of a great finish from ex-Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj, but they now face the prospect of having to get past Brazil and France or Uruguay if they were to reach the final.
England though, have a tricky round of 16 match against Colombia on Tuesday but then would have winnable games against Sweden or Switzerland in the quarter-finals and Russia, Croatia or Denmark in the semi-finals on their route.
Speaking to the media ahead of Tuesday’s meeting, Lingard insisted that the squad don’t see either path as difficult as the other and are taking each fixture one step at a time: “For us, it is game by game, and see where it takes us. We have to concentrate one game at a time.
“We are going to have to play the big teams sooner or later and if you want to be the best team in the world, you have got to beat the big teams. We are not really fussed what side [of the draw] we got chosen on.”
The 25-year-old midfielder is expected to start against Colombia after making a positive contribution to the group stage, following a great 2017-18 season at Man United in which he became an established first-team player under Jose Mourinho.