Masterstroke or naive?
Former Premier League star Robbie Savage has admitted that the perception of the England manager could go either way ahead of the Colombia clash.
The England boss decided to rest his best players against Belgium on Thursday and that lead to them finishing second in Group G.
There was much talk leading up to the game that finishing second could lead to a better run to the World Cup final.
England will face Colombia in the next round instead of Japan who will face Belgium, but will face Switzerland or Sweden should the progress.
Could go either way
Now, Robbie Savage has had his say by explaining that should Southgate’s side beat Colombia it could be a masterstroke.
However, if they were to lose, Southgate would be given the same treatment as his England predecessors.
“If England beat Colombia in Moscow on Tuesday – and achieve only their third win in the knockout phase since 1990 – you would probably fancy them against Switzerland or Sweden in the quarter-finals,” he explained in his Daily Mirror column.
“Southgate and his players would come home as superstars.
“But if they come unstuck yet again when the knockout stuff begins, England’s World Cup campaign will be a failure.
“Roy Hodgson made a raft of unforced changes against Slovakia at the Euros two years ago, and England were then hopeless when it mattered against Iceland.
“Please don’t tell me Southgate is going to go down the same road.