Belgium finishes third with win over England

Belgium’s playersand	officials celebrating	their bronze	medal finish

Belgium’s players and officials celebrating their bronze medal finish

EDEN Hazard scored late on as Belgium completed a merited 2-0 win over England in St Petersburg to finish third in the World Cup.

Thomas Meunier took advantage of some sloppy defending to score the opener on four minutes before Hazard gave Phil Jones the slip to finish off Gareth Southgate’s side on 82 minutes.

England had their moments in the second half with Eric Dier seeing a chip cleared off the line by Toby Alderweireld after beating Thibaut Courtois.

While England battled hard in the second half to recover, Belgium always looked the slicker side on the break and they ran out comfortable winners to secure third place in the finals, 32 years after a fourth-place finish in the 1986 World Cup finals. It is their most successful campaign at a World Cup.

England striker Harry Kane was again disappointing, missing an obvious chance in the first half as he dragged the ball wide from a Raheem Sterling ball, but is in line to win the Golden Boot with his six goals at the tournament.

This young and largely inexperienced England side has plenty of talent, but on this showing they had a lot to do to match Belgium. Again the Three Lions were dangerous from set-pieces, but they lacked creativity in midfield, and their front-line was starved of service. The statistics will show England dominated possession, but not in areas of the pitch that caused much threat to the opposition.

They wanted to play the safe pass, while Belgium moved the ball from their defence to attack at a frightening pace, driven by the fantastic Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne, who caused Southgate’s side all kind of problems. It is a style of football England will hope to adopt at the European Championships in 2020, but they are missing a genuine world class midfield player – or two. – Eurosport

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