Belgium defeated England 2-0 to finish FIFA World Cup 2018 as the third best team of the tournament. Thomas Meunier scored in the fourth minute while Eden Hazard scored in the 87th as the Belgians upstaged England in the third-place play-off on Saturday at St Petersburg.
With the third-place finish, Belgium secured best-ever finish at the World Cup.
Belgium had taken the lead early against England.
Meunier turned in Nacer Chadli’s low cross from close range after Romelu Lukaku’s pass had sliced open the England defence. Belgium produced some flowing moves and always looked dangerous while England also threatened, with Harry Kane firing wide after being set up by Raheem Sterling.
Toby Alderweireld denied England’s best chance of the game, sliding on the goal line to clear a shot from Eric Dier. England tried to mount a fightback after the early setback but the Red Devils were just too good in the first-half.
Belgium vs England – HIGHLIGHTS
Southgate brought on Marcus Rashford for Sterling and Jesse Lingard for Danny Rose at the break and the changes worked well, with England well on top in the second half.
Toby Alderweireld was forced to clear an Eric Dier effort off his line at full stretch after a neat exchange between the midfielder and Rashford ended with a chip over Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois.
Dier and Harry Maguire both headed wide from promising positions while at thee other end Meunier went close to a second with a powerful volley that Pickford did well to save.
But the game was wrapped up when De Bruyne burst from midfield and slipped the ball through to Hazard, who glided past Phil Jones and fired into the bottom corner.
Fourth equals England’s best performance since their World Cup win in 1966. They also finished fourth in 1990 and Southgate was pleased with the way his team handled the game.
On Saturday, both teams came out all guns blazing. But while Belgium’s top stars put on a top class show, England were let down by Harry Kane, who could not add to his tally of six goals scored against Panama and Tunisia in the group stages and Sweden Colombia in the round-of-16.
But Kane is almost certain to win the Golden Boot.
Meanwhile, there were 10 different goal scorers for Belgium in the World Cup. They have now equalled the feats of Frane (1982) and Italy (2006).
(With Reuters inputs)