first_imgAfter a 6-1 demolition of Panama on Sunday, England are into the World Cup knockout rounds.The Three Lions have not won a tournament knockout game since 2006, but with Harry Kane on fire and Gareth Southgate leading a new brand of confident, dynamic football, could 2018 be the year they go all the way? IF ENGLAND FINISH SECOND IN GROUP G (possible opponents):Round of 16: Japan, Senegal or Colombia (July 3, 7pm, Moscow)Quarter-final: Mexico or Switzerland (July 7, 3pm, Samara)Semi-final: Croatia, Portugal or Spain (July 11, 7pm, Moscow)Final: France or Spain (July 15, 4pm, Moscow)Finishing second, due to Germany’s slip-up against Mexico, brings by far the easiest route to the final.Should Croatia beat one of Portugal or Spain in their quarter-final, England’s path to Moscow could get even easier.talkSPORT are with listeners all day and all night at this year’s 2018 FIFA World Cup™ with over 800 hours of World Cup content and all 64 games live across the talkSPORT network. Topping Group G could mean a quarter-final date with Neymar and Brazil for Gareth Southgate’s side West Ham’s Javier Hernandez could face England in the quarter-finals if they top Group F and England finish second 3 Harry Kane’s hat-trick set England on their way to their biggest win in tournament history center_img England and Belgium sit on identical records in Group G after two games, each with six points, eight goals scored and two conceded.If they draw in the final game in Kaliningrad on Thursday, the teams will have to be separated by disciplinary points, with England currently sneaking ahead by two yellow cards to Belgium’s three.Due to upsets in other groups involving big hitters, the team finishing second in Group G could in fact have the easier route to the final – although both Southgate and Belgium counterpart Roberto Martinez were keen to stress they would not be throwing the final game.Finishing top could mean a potential quarter-final against Brazil or Germany, while the team coming second would likely be handed a tie against Mexico or Switzerland in the last eight – a considerably more favourable proposition even with the big teams’ stuttering starts.So while there are of course ‘no easy games in international football’, what would be the best way for England to reach the final in Moscow on July 15? 3 IF ENGLAND FINISH TOP OF GROUP G (possible opponents):Round of 16: Japan, Senegal or Colombia (July 2, 7pm, Kazan)Quarter-final: Brazil or Germany (July 6, 7pm, Kazan)Semi-final: France, Portugal or Spain (July 10, 7pm, St Petersburg)Final: Portugal or Spain (July 15, 4pm, Moscow)Winning the group would maintain momentum and demonstrate England’s ability to beat the big teams, but the Three Lions are in Russia to win the World Cup, not just Group G, and a pragmatic approach may be required.While no-one in the England camp would admit that they are deliberately trying to finish below Belgium, do not be surprised if Southgate rings the changes against Belgium, under the disguise of resting his key players. 3last_img