England will not be thinking about anything other than victory when they take on Belgium on Thursday, according to Gary Cahill.
While already certain to reach the knockout rounds, the two European nations meet in Kaliningrad to decide who will progress to the last 16 as winners of Group G.
However, claiming top spot may also lead to a potential quarter-final against Brazil or Germany, leading to the suggestion England are better off finishing behind Belgium in the table.
Cahill, though, is less interested in plotting a route to the latter stages and instead only focused on building momentum.
“No, the discussions have been to win the game,” the defender said.
“That’s the truth. It’s still a huge stage, no matter what the situation is within the group.
“Everyone is watching and it is not as if we are going into a friendly or a pre-season tour where you can half take your foot off. Go and win the game. Build momentum, to keep that good feeling going.
“You can’t look too far ahead. You face who you are going to face. And the fact is in the next round it looks like you are going to face a team that will be similar whether you finish first or second.”
— England (@England) June 26, 2018
Cahill could feature for the first time in Russia if, as expected, manager Gareth Southgate decides to make changes to his starting XI.
The centre-back has bitter memories of looking too far ahead at a major tournament, having been part of the Euro 2016 squad who underestimated Iceland when a quarter-final against hosts France loomed large on the horizon.
“We were looking at playing France in their stadium and ‘it was going to be a fantastic occasion’ and then it never got to that,” he added.
“You can look too far down the line. The message for us is to prepare to win the game.”
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