A recent history of third-place playoff matches
The third-place playoff match often has a carnival atmosphere around it, because both sides would have preferred to be in the final but also want to end the tournament on a high. This fixture has produced some crackers down the years, let's take a look at a few of the highlights from recent editions and if they're anything to go by, we should expect goals later today when Belgium face England.
2006: Germany 3-1 Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo's debut World Cup appearance with Portugal was a creditable one. Portugal eventually took 4th place in the tournament, losing the third place playoff 3-1 to Germany. Portugal's route to the semifinals is probably what will be remembered for the longest; the so-called "Battle of Nuremberg" meeting with the Netherlands in the round of 16 was one of the feistiest matches ever and contained a record number of cards. The final tally counted 4 red cards and 16 yellows. In the quarterfinals, Ronaldo was infamously involved in an incident with then clubmate Wayne Rooney, Portugal eventually getting the better of England. In the third place playoff match, Portugal's Nuno Gomes could only muster a consolation goal in a 3-1 loss to Germany, with legendary midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger getting a double.
2010: Uruguay 2-3 Germany
Eight years ago, South Africa staged the first African World Cup. Luis Suárez was the villain of the piece when Uruguay edged past Ghana in the quarters and deprived Africa the chance of having a side in the semifinals. The playoff match was an entertaining one which saw both sides have a lead in the encounter where Germany eventually prevailed with a Sami Khedira winner.
2014: Brazil 0-3 Netherlands
Brazil never recovered from a 7-1 semifinal humbling at the hands of eventual champions Germany, eventually losing 3-0 to The Netherlands in the third-place playoff game. Brazil, as a nation, were in mourning over their side's demolition at the hands of Germany on home soil, and the scars have yet to heal.
What's in store today when a variety of English Premier League stars take centre stage in Russia for the meeting of Belgium and England? It's a new-look encounter with no sign of Germany, Brazil, Uruguay or the Netherlands. Is there a changing of the guard in the hierarchy of football?
Read more: Best Bet Preview - Belgium vs England