World Cup

Belgium Claim Third Place After Beating England 2-0

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 14: team of Belgium celebrates during the FIFA 2018 World Cup Russia Play-off for third place match between Belgium and England at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on July 14, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Fred Lee/Getty Images)
Belgium Claim Third Place After Beating England 2-0

Belgium beat England by two goals to nil in the battle for third place in St Petersburg on Saturday.

Gareth Southgate’s team were unable to bounce back from the despair of Wednesday’s extra-time loss against Croatia in the semi-final in Moscow – but this still represents a highly creditable tournament for England.

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Thomas Meunier put Belgium ahead after just four minutes when he slid in ahead of Danny Rose to divert Nacer Chadli’s cross past goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.

England had chances to level in the second half as Toby Alderweireld cleared off the line from Eric Dier, while Harry Maguire also headed wide from a good position.

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Eden Hazard wrapped it up for Belgium with eight minutes left when he got the better of Phil Jones to beat Pickford, who had just saved magnificently from Meunier, with a powerful finish.

Belgium striker Romelu Lukaku missed two chances and was substituted without scoring, leaving England captain Harry Kane in pole position to win the World Cup’s Golden Boot with six goals.

Belgium’s delight at a third-place finish – their best at a World Cup – was obvious in the manner in which Martinez and his assistant Thierry Henry celebrated with their players at full-time.

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It meant a lot – although it could have been even better after beating Brazil in the quarter-finals only to then lose to France in the last four.

However, Martinez has a truly outstanding squad at his disposal and there is every chance they will now get stronger having gained stature here.

Any squad that boasts the attacking firepower they have in De Bruyne, Hazard and Lukaku, as well as their strength of squad elsewhere, is a force to be reckoned with – and this may be only the start of Belgium’s story as a rising football force.

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World Cup
@alexclapham

An Englishman that is a coach and analyst within the youth academy of a Spanish club whilst studying Sports Coaching. Obsessive over the tactical concepts of the European game, Alex regularly attends games in the La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A.

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