2018 FIFA World Cup: Belgium vs England

England's Harry Kane huddles with team mates before extra time. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

After six dramatic matches full of emotions at a World Cup in which each and every player can be proud of what they achieved, Belgium and England must meet once again as they battle for Bronze after Semi-Final heartbreak. 

Both sides have battled hard but again find themselves fighting for a Bronze Medal like they did in 1986 and 1990 respectively in the Third Place Play-Off.

Those two occasions however saw further heartbreak as both sides finished fourth, meaning that victory here will be key to lifting their nation from a slumber of despair. 


Team news

World Cup - Group G - Belgium vs Panama
Romelu Lukaku needs two goals to potentially snatch the Golden Boot away from Harry Kane. (Reuters)

Belgium could ring the changes with right-back, Thomas Meunier available after suspension.

Striker, Romelu Lukaku is however expected to keep his place given that he could yet snatch the Golden Boot from Harry Kane’s grasp.  

England boss, Gareth Southgate has vowed to put out a strong team as the Three Lions look to go one step further than the class of 1990 did. 

Kieran Trippier, Jordan Henderson and Kyle Walker all trained along with rest of squad despite being doubts following Wednesday’s exit. 


Stat Attack

  • Both teams lost their previous third place play off with Belgium’s defeat to France in 1986 coming 4-2 after extra time. England meanwhile lost at this stage four years later to Italy, losing 2-1. 
  • In the only previous World Cup knockout meeting between these sides, England won 1-0 in extra time through a 119th minute David Platt goal. 
  • These teams are the first to meet twice at a World Cup since Turkey and Brazil clashed twice. Brazil won both meetings, via group game and semi final. 
  • Belgium’s win in last meeting was only their second in 22 meetings. 
  • Belgium are yet to record a clean sheet during knockout stages of any World Cup.
  • England have scored 12 goals so far with nine of those coming from set pieces, which is a World Cup record.
  • Extra time here will see England move level with Germany and Italy (11) for most extra time periods at a World Cup.  


Unlike their meeting in group stage, this should be more of a proper battle with Lukaku and Kane going toe to toe. 

Although this is going to be painful in knowledge that these teams should of been in the final, I am expecting both sides to score with someone getting winner in extra time because it will be cruel to go to penalties here. 

Belgium will be the fresher given that they played on Tuesday but I reckon England will fire a dangerous message ahead of Euro 2020 here. 

Prediction: Belgium 1-2 England AET





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