REPORT: Belgium 2 England 0

Belgium achieved their best-ever World Cup performance by beating England in the third-place play-off in Saint Petersburg on Saturday.

The Red Devils made a dream start to the game, taking the lead just four minutes in as Thomas Meunier cut across Danny Rose to bundle home Nacer Chadli’s cross.

England were lucky not to be two goals down inside 15 minutes after Romelu Lukaku’s pass somehow evaded two defenders to find Kevin De Bruyne in the area. The Manchester City playmaker struggled to shift the ball out of his feet, however, and his stabbed effort was saved by the palm Jordan Pickford before being cleared.

The Three Lions’ maiden opportunity of the game came 25 minutes in when Raheem Sterling teed up Harry Kane on the edge of the area, only for the golden boot-chasing forward to drag his half volley wide of the target.

Join the queue.

A post shared by England (@england) on

Gareth Southgate’s side continued to push for an equaliser as the game progressed into its second half, Jesse Lingard’s fierce cross was narrowly out of reach for an onrushing Kane just ten minutes after the interval.

England’s clearest opening came with just 20 minutes remaining, Eric Dier found himself in front of goal following a one-two with Marcus Rashford and dinked the ball over Belgian ‘keeper Thibaut Courtois. However, Dier’s Tottenham team-mate, Toby Alderweireld, was on hand to pull off an excellent goal-line clearance to maintain his side’s slender advantage.

Roberto Martinez’ Belgium were denied what could have been the goal of the tournament in the 80th minute. A beautiful, free-flowing counter attack saw the ball fall to goal-scorer Meunier at the far post, only for his thunderous volley to be saved by Pickford in stunning fashion.

The game was put beyond England just two minutes later though, as Eden Hazard swept the ball past Pickford having been played in by the ever-creative De Bruyne.

Regardless of this result, the nation can still be proud of an England side that has achieved its best World Cup finish since 1990.

Sub-edited by Sam Cox

Leave a Comment