Belgium recorded their best ever World Cup finish by finishing third after taking a 2-0 victory over England. 

Thomas Meunier opened the scoring via fourth minute tap in before Eden Hazard wrapped things up eight minutes from time, after rounding Phil Jones to slot home Belgium’s second. 

Victory here means that Belgium have bettered their fourth place from 1986 whilst England have matched the achievement of their 1990 generation. 

Harry Kane meanwhile is on course to claim the Golden Boot after Romelu Lukaku failed to score, before being subbed on hour mark. 

To potentially deny him via tie-breaker rules, France’s Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe must score a hat-trick in tomorrow’s Final against Croatia.  

 

Belgium dominate

World Cup - Third Place Play Off - Belgium v England

Thomas Meunier sent Belgium on their way to a dominant victory over England. (Reuters)

Belgium started the match strongly and were soon rewarded when Nacer Chadli got down England’s right before crossing in for an oncoming Meunier to tap into goal to make it 1-0. 

The Red Devils then could of gone two goals to good by 20th minute after Kevin de Bruyne twice linked up with Lukaku. De Bruyne completed the first attempt by finding the left post before Jordan Pickford then saved Lukaku’s effort. 

Their best chance of whole match then came in 80th minute on a break, finding Meunier only for Pickford to make a wonder punch to keep the score respectable. 

Eventually, that save wasn’t enough when just two minutes later on another counter, De Bruyne played ball through to Hazard who rounded Jones with such ease before slotting into bottom left from close range. 

 

Hope for England’s Future

World Cup - Third Place Play Off - Belgium v England

Harry Kane wasted two glorious chances to score for England as hope builds for future. (Reuters)

Having lost Wednesday’s semi final in heart-breaking fashion, England clearly struggled to throw themselves into the first half. 

Their best chance of opening 45 minutes came from Kane after he picked up a pass from Raheem Sterling on edge of box, only to curl it wide. 

Come second half, Sterling and Danny Rose were off with Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford on. 

Those two changes gave England fresh hope with numerous second half chances coming and going. 

Kane first had two crosses come his way from Lingard and Ruben Loftus-Cheek but failed to connect with either. 

Eric Dier however could of pulled the Three Lions level in 70th minute after chipping past Thibaut Courtois, only for his Tottenham teammate, Toby Alderweireld to clear off line.

Dier and Harry Maguire both had superb chances to score from set pieces throughout match, with all three attempts denied as Maguire’s first effort found Courtois’ hands whilst rest went wide.

Although it wasn’t enough, this England team has a bright future ahead of them and should hopefully fare better than the 1990 generation, who didn’t even qualify for the following World Cup in 1994. 

 

Stat Attack

  • When England finished fourth in 1990, the UK was ran by a female Conservative Prime Minister with initials (M.T). Fast forward to 2018 and it’s same situation except for the Prime Minister’s initials being reversed. 

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