Belgium finishes on a high

2018 FIFA World Cup

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Goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard helped Belgium defeat England in the 3rd place play-off in the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the St. Petersburg Stadium, St Petersburg.

Belgium and England squared off in an encounter which neither team wanted to be in after disappointing losses in the semi-finals.

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With nineteen players out of twenty-two representing English Premier League clubs, neither teams had major changes in the starting lineup looking to finish the tournament on a high.

Belgium had the perfect start as early as the fourth minute when Thomas Meunier met a delightful cross from Nacer Chadli to steer home close range. Kevin De Bruyne then came close to extending the lead with close range shot which Jordan Pickford saved well.

Belgium looked the team with the attacking prowess and threatened with several moves. England did manage to have couple of sighters. Harry Kane got the best of the chances mid-way through the first half but scuffed his shot wide.

Despite the ball possession England looked slow in their buildup without any spark. Belgium on the other hand moved faster on the counter and threatened every time. Both teams looked tired from their semifinal exploits hardly pushed during the last quarter of the first half.

Half Time – Belgium 1 – 0 England

Early in the second half with England making a couple of attacking changes, Loftus-Cheek got an early opportunity only to run out of ground to turn back. Eden Hazard looked his best with some slick ball play and dribbles and the supporting cast of De Bruyne.

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Against the run of play Jesse Lingard managed to create a volley which went just wide with Harry Kane trying to get a foot at the end.

Romelu Lukaku got a great opportunity extend his goal count, however he failed to control a through ball from De Bruyne. His chance to fight for the Golden Boot was over when he was replaced at the hour mark.

England gradually grew into attacking mode which opened up the game as Belgium was fast on the counter attack.

Eric Dier did everything right to get the equalizer with a delightful chip over Thibaut Courtois only to be cleared off the line by Toby Alderweireld. Chances for England came in thick and fast, however failed to take them or trouble Courtois.

Jordan Pickford then pulled out one of the saves of the tournament when he stopped a volley from Thomas Meunier, which could have been the goal of the tournament if he had scored.

Man of the match Eden Hazard then made sure Belgium finish as third place team when he finished a great through ball from the pass master De Bruyne.

Full Time – Belgium 2 – 0 England

Man of the Match – Eden Hazard (Belgium)

Goal Scorers
Belgium – Thomas Meunier 4’, Eden Hazard 82’

Bookings
Yellow Cards
Belgium – Axel Witsel 90+3’
England – John Stones 52’, Harry Maguire 76’

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