Dele Alli is confident about England’s penalty hopes

Jesse Lingard shoots

Jesse Lingard has been one of England's stand-out performers Credit reuters

"If Belgium wins, England will probably get an easier ride in the next round so perhaps it is one of those win-win scenarios", Varadkar said with diplomatic poise.

England defeated Tunisia with a last-gasp Harry Kane goal and thrashed Panama 6-1 in their second game, as both themselves and Belgium guaranteed progress to the knockout stage with a match to spare.

"They pose you different technical and tactical challenges as we had (against Belgium)".

Adnan Januzaj's stunning goal secured a much-changed Belgium side a 1-0 win over England's second string at the World Cup. Brazil have won three of four, including the 1994 final in Los Angeles, and France two of four, losing to Italy in the deciding game in Berlin in 2006. Argentina have played three World Cup knockout games on June 30 in the past, and all three have gone to penalties.

The senior team have lost six of their seven penalty shoot-outs at major tournaments - a statistic manager Southgate knows all too well about, having missed his spot-kick in the Euro 96 semi-final against Germany. For us, we're not focusing on the next games.

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"I felt the need to sit with him, but he was brilliant, absolutely brilliant", Southgate said of the striker. "We know how he plays, we know his strengths, and we'll look to try and exploit his very few weaknesses".

"But more often than not we have not been able to win those matches in normal time or in extra-time".

"I'm a little surprised because everybody seems to be happy in England, thinking they are now on the right side of the World Cup draw because they've avoided the half with Brazil", said the Swede.

Gareth Southgate's men are preparing for a tough-looking last-16 clash against the South Americans at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow on Tuesday.

There was a unusual feeling around the game as both teams were already assured of progress to the last 16, with talk about the best path to the final compounded by a combined 17 changes.

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'We have to put things aside and solve them, it's not a Bravo, a Vidal or an Alexis Sanchez, we have to put things aside and build'.

Meanwhile, Los Cafeteros ended top of Group H after a defeat to Japan but followed that setback with consecutive victories over Poland and Senegal.

Speaking to Sky Sports, the former Arsenal attacking midfielder said: "Fair play to Gareth with what he did against Belgium".

"I think yesterday showed he can dribble, he passed some defenders as well".

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But, if Sweden beats Mexico on Wednesday and Germany beats South Korea , three teams would be tied atop Group F with six points. With one more, he can become Mexico's all-time leading scorer in World Cup play with five, breaking a tie with Luis Hernandez.

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