Belgium 2-0 England: Slick Red Devils seal highest ever World Cup finish

Belgium 2-0 England: Slick Red Devils seal highest ever World Cup finish

Goals from Meunier and Hazard sealed third place at this years World Cup for Belgium, which is their highest ever finish at a World Cup tournament.

brandon-sayer
Brandon Sayer
BelgiumCourtois; Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans (Dembele, min. 78), Witsel, Chadli (Vermaelen, min. 39); De Bruyne, Hazard; Lukaku (Mertens, min. 60).
EnglandPickford; Rose (Lingard, min. 46), Jones, Stones, Maguire, Trippier; Dier, Delph, Loftus-Cheek (Alli, min. 84); Sterling (Rashford, min. 46), Kane.
SCORE1-0, min. 4, Meunier. 2-0, min. 82, Hazard.
REFEREEAlireza Faghani (IRAN). Booked: Stones (min. 52), Maguire (min. 76), Witsel (min. 90+3).
INCIDENTSWorld Cup third place play-off match between Belgium and England, held at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in Russia.

Belgium bagged third place at the World Cup in Russia after defeating England 2-0 at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on Saturday evening to claim their best ever finish at a World Cup.

Both side's came into this game on the back of disappointing semi-final losses in midweek and it was going to come down to who wanted it more and it turned out the Belgium on this occasion.

The Red Devils took control of the game as early as the fourth minute as Thomas Meunier gave them the lead after a fantastic passing move.

They didn't make sure of the win though until the 82nd minute when Eden Hazard ended the game as a contest to seal the win for Belgium.

England, though, despite losing this game have still had a positive tournament but at the end of the day they will feel that this was a massive chance for them which they didn't take.

Both managers made changes as expected

As many people expected, Gareth Southgate made five changes to his England starting eleven with Phil Jones, Fabian Delph, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Ruben Loftus-Cheek coming into the side to replace Kyle Walker, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Dele Alli and Ashley Young.

On the other hand, though, Roberto Martinez only made the two changes to his starting eleven with Meunier and Youri Tielemans coming into the side to replace Marouane Fellaini and Moussa Dembele

 

Meunier's early strike gave Belgium the perfect start

The game itself didn't take long to ignite as Belgium started really well and took the lead in the fourth minute of the game.

The goal was created by a great pass from Romelu Lukaku which found Nacer Chadli, who in turn played a great cross into the box to Meunier, who put the ball into the back of the net on his return to the side from suspension.

It could have been 2-0 not long after when a brilliant counter-attack from the Belgians ended with Kevin de Bruyne forcing Jordan Pickford into a very good save after a slight deflection.

 

Kane fluffed his lines much to everyones surprise

As the first half went on though, England started to get a foothold in the game and they should have equalised when a great ball forward from Dier found Raheem Sterling in the box and he laid the ball to Harry Kane, in a good position, but the in-form striker dragged his shot wide when everyone was ready for the net to ripple.

That was as close as the Three Lions came to scoring in the first half though as even though they got themselves into good positions during the half, the final pass let them down.

On the other hand, Belgium looked dangerous every time they went forward and they almost got a second goal before half-time when a mishit shot from Tielemans found Toby Alderwiereld in the box but his acrobatic shot just went over the bar as the Belgians took a slender 1-0 lead into the break.

Bold Southgate made positive changes at half-time as Dier missed two big opportunities to equalise

Southgate was bold at half-time as he decided to make a double substitution and bring on Lingard and Marcus Rashford and that gave the team much more freshness going forward.

They looked much more threatening but they really struggled to create any decent opportunities until the 70th minute when a brilliant one-two from Dier and Rashford, saw Dier in on goal, who chipped the ball over Thibaut Courtois but his effort was brilliantly cleared off the line by Alderweireld.

Dier went close a couple of minutes later when he found himself unmarked in the box but he put his header wide when he should have at least hit the target.

England continued to pile players forward in search of the equaliser but this left them exposed at the back and that almost led to a second Belgium goal when a great counter attacked ended with Meunier's volley being brilliantly saved by Pickford.

 

Hazard's brilliant finish sealed third place for the Red Devils

That was a huge warning sign for England and it was one they didn't pay attention too as Belgium did make it 2-0 with their next attack.

The goal was brilliantly crafted by De Bruyne, who played a great pass through to Hazard and the Chelsea winger took the ball in his stride before confidently sliding the ball home into the back of the net to end the game as a contest.

That goal really knocked the stuffing out of the England players as the game played out to the end without much more action in either box as Belgium won the game to confirm a third-place finish at this years World Cup.

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