Disappointment galore both the side before they faced each other in the 3rd place game, as they crashed out against France and Croatia respectively. While England were knocked out by a determined Croatian side, while Belgium could not handle the French attack.
— Goal (@goal) July 14, 2018
For the neutral, the game was pretty invalid, as all the focus is put on tomorrow’s big finals between France and Croatia. Gareth Southgate’s men found it pretty tough to clear the Belgian defence, and when they cleared the defence it was Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois who made flying saves.
Belgium’s first encounter against England ended up at 1-0 with both sides resting as many as eight players on the pitch. On Saturday, however, England made a handful of changes against Belgium, as Belgium made a change on their own.
Belgium opened the scoring:
Despite the changes, both teams were attacking with Belgium drawing the first blood. As many times in the past in this tournament, it was the counter-attack which led to the Belgium goal. The last time Belgium netted a counter-attack, it left their opposition in tears.
A beautiful ball from Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne found his striker Lukaku’s feet before Lukaku fed the ball to an on-rushing Nacer Chadli, who slid the ball across the face with Thomas Meunier tapping home the easiest of finishes.
Post that, Gareth Southgate’s team struggled to do much despite having more of the ball and 15 shots, putting five on the frame. England’s great opportunity knocked the door in the 70th minute when Eric Dier chipped the ball over Courtois’s on-rushing hand, and with the ball nearly rolling into the net a flying Toby Alderweireld cleared the ball out of the net.
Toby’s flying efforts:
An amazing piece of defence was on display from the Tottenham man, and when his team needed him to deliver he was there on the spot at the right time. England struggled then on, giving much of the ball to the Belgium players.
However, the players on the other side were not fully satisfied with a 1-0 goal-line, and it was Courtois club-mate Eden Hazard who came up with a dagger finish.
7 – Eden Hazard has been directly involved in seven goals at the World Cup (three goals, four assists); the joint-most of any Belgium player since 1966 (Jan Ceulemans also with seven). Rocket. #BELENG #BEL #WorldCup pic.twitter.com/Gaz8VqtsSE
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) July 14, 2018
The winger beat the defenders twice before curling the ball across the net in a stunning fashion and a beautiful finish to put the match to bed at 2-0.
The victory gives Belgium its best-ever finish at World Cup and builds a bit more momentum moving forward. For England, they have taken a road pretty different from the others with their combination and the age of the team.
This England team are destined to win in the future, or will they crumble under pressure yet again?