FIFA World Cup 2018: Belgium beats England 2-0 to claim third place finish

Monday, July 16, 2018

On Saturday, Belgium defeated England 2–0 in the third-place match of the 2018 FIFA Football World Cup. Thomas Meunier scored an early goal and Eden Hazard doubled the lead for Belgium in the 82nd minute to seal off the third place at the tournament.

England had more ball possession. Meunier opened the scoring for Belgium in the 4th minute, scoring a right-footed shot from within the penalty box, from Nacer Chadli's assist. Chadli was in an offside position in the 13th minute, from Vincent Kompany's through ball. In the 23rd minute, English striker Harry Kane missed a chance to equalise from Raheem Sterling's assist. In the 39th minute, Belgium made their first substitution. Chadli was substituted off due to injury and was replaced by Thomas Vermaelen. Just before the first half whistle, Belgium tried to double the lead but Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bryune's attempts were blocked.

In the second half, England made a double substitution, as Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford came on for Danny Rose and Sterling. English defender John Stones was the first to get a yellow card. He was booked in the 52nd minute for a bad foul. At the one-hour mark, Lukaku was taken off for Dries Mertens. In the 70th minute, Rashford assisted Eric Dier, and Dier nearly equalised for England, chipping the ball over Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but the attempt was blocked by Belgian defense. Moments later, Harry Maguire tried to head the ball in the goal, but the ball went wide. Maguire was booked in the 76th minute. English goalkeeper Jordan Pickford stopped Belgium from doubling their lead in the 80th minute on the counter-attack, but two minutes later, Belgium scored their second goal. De Bryune assisted Hazard, and Hazard scored a right-footed shot from within the penalty area. In the injury time, Axel Witsel was shown a yellow card. Moments later, the referee blew the final time whistle and Belgium won the third place in the tournament.

After the match, Belgium's coach Roberto Martínez said, "We wanted to win it. When you beat Brazil and get into the semi-final, the focus has to be to try to win the World Cup. But you need to be realistic when you finish the tournament and look back. These players made history back in Belgium and that's all that matters. These players deserve to have that accolade."

English coach Gareth Southgate said, "In the end we are very proud of what we've done. We're under no illusions as to where we stand as a team; we've finished in the final four but we're not a top-four team yet, we know that and we've never hidden behind that. Against the very best teams we've come up short but we've had a wonderful adventure and some experiences that will stand this group of players and staff in really good stead for the future. I couldn't ask any more of any of the players today or right the way through the seven weeks we've worked together."

Hazard won the Budweiser Man of the Match award.

July 14, 2018
1700 MSK (UTC+0300)
Belgium 2–0 England Saint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Attendance: 64,406
Referee: Alireza Faghani (Iran)
Thomas Meunier Scored after 4 minutes 4'
Eden Hazard Scored after 82 minutes 82'
Axel Witsel Booked after 90+3 minutes 90+3'
Nacer Chadli Substituted off after 39 minutes 39'
Thomas Vermaelen Substituted on after 39 minutes 39'
Romelu Lukaku Substituted off after 60 minutes 60'
Dries Mertens Substituted on after 60 minutes 60'
Youri Tielemans Substituted off after 78 minutes 78'
Mousa Dembélé Substituted on after 78 minutes 78'
1–0 (HT) John Stones Booked after 52 minutes 52'
Harry Maguire Booked after 76 minutes 76'
Danny Rose Substituted off after 46 minutes 46'
Jesse Lingard Substituted on after 46 minutes 46'
Raheem Sterling Substituted off after 46 minutes 46'
Marcus Rashford Substituted on after 46 minutes 46'
Ruben Loftus-Cheek Substituted off after 84 minutes 84'
Dele Alli Substituted on after 84 minutes 84'