Belgium beat England to claim third place in World Cup

England sad

Belgium finished third in the World Cup, their best-ever performance, when they beat England 2-0 with an early Thomas Meunier goal and a breakaway finished by Eden Hazard in Saturday's playoff between the losing semi-finalists.

The win marked the Red Devils' best finish at the World Cup finals since their fourth place position in Mexico 1986. "Obviously I'm disappointed I couldn't get a goal in the last few games", he said.

In fact, this new-found sense of humility, openness and professionalism has left its mark on Eamon Dunphy because as we've frequently seen, the pundit has been something of a cheerleader for the English team throughout their campaign in Russian Federation.

Belgium continued to threaten on the break and finished off the game when Kevin de Bruyne set Hazard clear and he swept his shot past Jordan Pickford. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Eric Dier, Phil Jones, Danny Rose and Fabian Delph all come into the starting line-up after beginning on the bench in the semi-final defeat to Croatia.

England players look on as Belgium is recognised as the third place winne.

Belgium has struck first thanks to a goal by Thomas Meunier, who was suspended for the semifinal due to yellow cards. In the first meeting, both teams had already qualified for the knockout stage out of Group G. But on Saturday, the two teams meet again with nothing more than third place on the line, in the World Cup consolation match that will live stream from Saint Petersburg.

This is the second game between these teams at this tournament.

There was nothing Pickford could do though as De Bruyne and Hazard combined to wrap up the victory on 82 minutes, the latter drilling low inside the near post for his third goal of the competition.

England coach Gareth Southgate wrapped up his news conference after his team's 2-0 loss to Belgium in the third-place playoff by thanking the people of Russian Federation for their welcome during the tournament.

Two exhausted and disappointed teams playing in heat with the crowd dominated by neutral Russian fans was never going to be a recipe for a thriller but Belgium made a flying start.

The British government did not send an official delegation to Russian Federation for the World Cup, and members of the royal family decided not to attend. Belgium also won that contest by a score of 1-0.

"This game showed there is still room for improvement", Kane said after the match.

6 - Roberto Martinez is a big fan of Monaco midfielder Youri Tielemans, who got his big chance against England. We have high motivation to perform and finish with a medal at a World Cup, which only one English team have ever done.

Never has the beauty and beast analogy been more apt than in the link-up of De Bruyne and Lukaku but the Manchester United man will rue not adding to his tally. He wouldn't confirm whether he'd give either of his reserve goalkeepers, Jack Butland and Nick Pope, their first game of the tournament in place of Jordan Pickford.

"One or two injuries, one or two with a bit of illness".

44' - Belgium appear to be trying for one more goal before the half.

Both Harry Kane and Romelu Lukaku failed to score, leaving the English forward as the heavy favorite to win the Golden Boot in Russian Federation. Harry Kane still leads all World Cup goal-scorers with six goals, but Romelu Lukaku isn't too far behind with four.

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