Belgium vs England (FIFA World Cup 2018 LIVE COMMENTARY)
3rd Place Match
This is the 63rd match in the FIFA World Cup 2018 holding in Moscow, Russia.
Date & Time of Match:
Saturday, 14; 3pm
Both sides will return home from Russia with their heads held high after some memorable performances and will believe it presents the opportunity to build upon ahead of the next World Cup in Qatar. Attentions will now turn towards pre-season at club level, before the national sides reassemble in September.
Thomas Meunier’s very early goal and Eden Hazard’s fine finish hand Belgium third place at the 2018 World Cup, securing their best ever finish at the tournament. England, just like in 1990, finish fourth and were far from their best today. Eric Dier came the closest after seeing a cheeky attempt cleared off the line by Tottenham team-mate Toby Alderweireld but the Three Lions will feel they should have created more.
90′ + 3′ FULL-TIME! BELGIUM 2-0 ENGLAND
90′ + 3′ Witsel picks up a very late yellow card for a clumsy challenge.
90′ + 2′ England have spent the last few minutes knocking the ball around without too much attacking intent as both sides await the final whistle.
90′ There will be three minutes added time.
88′ Belgium now cruising towards a deserved victory, which will secure the Red Devils’ best-ever finish at a World Cup.
86′ England have improved since the restart but their lack of creativity is starting to be a real issue. They have relied heavily on set-pieces at this World Cup and do not threaten enough in open play.
84′ England make their final change of the World Cup, replacing Loftus-Cheek with Alli.
82′ De Bruyne, as he so often does, has been running the show in midfield and certainly deserves his assist.
82′ GOAL! 2-0! Game over! More superb build-up play from Belgium finishes with De Bruyne playing a perfectly-weighted pass through to Hazard, who surges into the box and drills into the bottom left-hand corner.
80′ GREAT SAVE! Pickford keeps England in the game! Belgium hit on the counter once again and their move is sublime. De Bruyne tees a ball through to Hazard, who’s first-time cross is volleyed by Meunier and forces Pickford to make a stunning stop.
78′ Third and final change for Belgium, as Dembele replaces Tielemans.
78′ England have started to find their rhythm, with Belgium showing signs of tiredness, but the final poor remains poor.
76′ Maguire joins Stones in the referee’s notebook after protesting a decision.
76′ Belgium hit on the counter and have England’s defence in the palm of their hands but Mertens curls way off target.
74′ England come close again! Trippier takes another free-kick and Maguire meets the cross with his head but cannot direct his effort towards goal.
73′ CHANCE! Dier has another chance! Trippier clips a pass over the defence to Lingard, who crosses into the midfielder in the middle but he heads wide of the mark.
72′ Kompany clatters into Rashford, conceding a free-kick, and Trippier looks to capitalise. The Tottenham man’s delivery is into a decent area but Kompany heads behind for a corner.
70′ OFF THE LINE! Dier dances through the midfield, playing a one-two with Rashford, and then chipping an attempt over Courtois. However, Alderweireld is alert to the danger and hooks the ball away to deny a certain goal.
68′ England are finding room out wide but there is nobody getting on the end of the crosses that are fired into the middle.
66′ England waste a corner and allow Belgium to break on the counter, though De Bruyne’s pass through to Mertens is poor. Another lucky escape for Southgate’s men.
64′ No World Cup third-place playoff has finished with less than three goals since Poland’s victory against Brazil in 1974. There will need to be a late flurry of goals for that record to remain.
62′ Superb tackle! Belgium working their way through the gears and Hazard is found with an inviting ball in behind, then poking a pass through to Meunier before the Paris Saint-Germain man is thwarted by Delph’s brilliant sliding challenge.
60′ Belgium make a second change and it is good news for Kane’s pursuit of the golden boot. Lukaku, second in the standings with four, is replaced by Mertens.
58′ Rashford has barely had a touch since his introduction at the break, with both him and Kane receiving very little service.
56′ A superb cross-field pass from De Bruyne sees Belgiuym break on the counter, feeding Meunier before receiving possession again. He then tees a through ball to Lukaku but Pickford is quick off his line to collect.
54′ England continue to see plenty of possession and poor defending from a throw-in gives England an opportunity as Trippier hands the ball to Lingard, who bounces a pass across the face of goal and narrowly beyond Kane’s reach.
52′ Stones earns the game’s first yellow card for a foul on Hazard to deny a Belgium counter-attack.
51′ The corner is wasted though, as the cross is easily collected by Courtois.
50′ Trippier takes a deep free-kick from the right side, firing into the middle towards Stones but headed behind for a corner by Vertonghen.
49′ England have only won one of the last 21 World Cup games where they have conceded first – the 1966 final against Germany.
47′ Loftus-Cheek picks up possession after De Bruyne is tackled but Kompany shifts across the defence to quell the danger, with the ball bouncing back off the England midfielder and behind for a goal kick.
46′ England get the action restarted and we are back underway for the second half.
46′ Sterling is also taken off and replaced by Rashford.
46′ Southgate makes two changes at the break, the first of which sees Lingard replace Rose.
England have plenty of room for improvement in the second half, as they have struggled to create clear-cut scoring opportunities, while Martinez will also want Belgium to be more clincal in the final third to secure the victory. There is still goals in this one but both teams have work to do.
Hardly a vintage performance from Belgium but they have done what they need to and did it very early on, carving through England and seeing Thomas Meunier tuck home from close range. He becomes the 10th player to score for Belgium at the World Cup, equalling the all-time record held by France in 1982 & Italy in 2006.
45′ + 2′ HALF-TIME! BELGIUM 1-0 ENGLAND
45′ + 2′ Lukaku looks to hit England on the break, though Stones does well to defend. No time for the corner as the referee blows the whistle.
45′ + 1′ Two minutes added on at the end of the first half.
45′ Martinez’s side put England under pressure as Alderweireld finds room for a cross on the right, though his delivery is poor.
43′ Belgium look content to defend their lead heading into the interval and have changed their set-up since the change, with Vertonghen now playing as wing-back on the left.
41′ England continue to recycle possession around the midfield areas of the pitch, with Kane and Sterling having very limited service.
39′ Belgium forced into an early change as Chadli picks up a knock and is replaced by Vermaelen.
37′ Short break in play as Chadli requires treatment and looks unable to continue, which leaves Belgium temporarily down to ten men.
35′ OVER! Belgium earn their first corner of the game after Stones deflects Hazard’s shot behind and De Bruyne tries something different, blasting a low ball to the edge of the area that Tielemans does not strike cleanly but it bounces up for Alderweireld, who volleys narrowly over the bar.
33′ Belgium always look like they are just one pass short of tearing through England’s defence and it only seems like a matter of time until De Bruyne puts the ball on a plate for a team-mate.
31′ England remain short of ideas as they knock the ball around the defence, with Belgium sat in their own half to block potential passes further forward.
29′ Belgium push forward down the left in another dangerous charge, which ends with Chadli striking a shot at goal that is easily blocked.
27′ Belgium have sat back since opening the scoring but a mistake from Rose concedes possession to Meunier, who fails to find Lukaku with his cross. Though it serves as a warning to England.
25′ England have the lion’s share of possession but Belgium look comfortable in defence. The lack of creativity is certainly an issue for Southgate to solve after the World Cup.
23′ MISS! Sterling brings a long ball down superbly before teeing the ball across to Kane, who lashes a shot off target.
21′ England have already had two attempts on target in this match, the same amount they managed in 120 minutes against Croatia.
19′ Loftus-Cheek charges forward from midfield with a dangerous run and Kompany clears his low ball out for England’s first corner of the game, which comes to nothing.
17′ Belgium continue to look dangerous when they push into the final third, with De Bruyne finding room to work with and playing teasing balls through to Lukaku.
15′ England moving the ball around better as Trippier curls a cross into the middle that Loftus-Cheek heads towards goal, though it is another comfortable save for Courtois.
14′ Delph tries to beat Courtois from distance but it’s a tame effort that does not threaten the Chelsea stopper.
12′ SAVE! England are all over the place in defence as Lukaku’s poor pass somehow bobbles through to De Bruyne, who sees his shot at goal deflected and then saved by Pickford.
10′ England earn a free-kick after Tielemans fouls Kane, allowing Trippier to curl a cross into the middle but the ball goes all the way through to Courtois.
8′ Meunier’s goal was the earliest goal Belgium have ever scored at the World Cup, as well as being the earliest England have ever conceded at the tournament.
6′ England’s defence looked rather suspect for the two goals Croatia scored in the semi-final and they are not holding themselves in the best of light in the opening exchanges here.
4′ A slick and swift Belgium move, with De Bruyne, Lukaku and Hazard all involved in the build-up before Chadli’s killer ball provided the assist.
4′ GOOOOAL! 1-0! Belgium make a flying start to the game! England leave too much room for Chadli on the left side, who whips a low cross into the middle where Meunier pokes home.
3′ England seeing a lot of early possession but Belgium’s defence is standing firm. Neither side has had a sight at goal yet.
1′ We are underway at the Krestovsky Stadium, where Belgium get the action started.
The teams are taking to the field and the national anthems are about to begin.
This will be England’s 100th game at a major international tournament and the 69th at a World Cup.
Southgate changes five following the defeat to Croatia, bringing in Jones, Dier, Loftus-Cheek, Delph and Rose. Walker, Young, Henderson, Lingard and Alli are the players who drop to the bench, with golden boot chasing Kane leading the line alongside Sterling.
Martinez makes two changes to the side defeated by France, with Meunier returning from suspension and Tielemans taking a spot in the midfield. Fellaini and Dembele drop out as a result.
England subs: Nick Pope, Jack Butland, Kyle Walker, Danny Welbeck, Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard, Jordan Henderson, Gary Cahill, Ashley Young, Jamie Vardy, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dele Alli.
Belgium subs: Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels, Yannick Carrasco, Thorgan Hazard, Dries Mertens, Maroaune Fellaini, Thomas Vermaelen, Adnan Januzaj, Leander Dendoncker, Michy Batshuayi, Mousa Dembele, Dedryck Boyata.
England XI: Jordan Pickford; Phil Jones, John Stones, Harry Maguire; Eric Dier; Kieran Trippier, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fabian Delph, Danny Rose; Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling.
Belgium XI: Thibaut Courtois; Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany; Jan Vertonghen; Thomas Meunier, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel, Nacer Chadli; Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard; Romelu Lukaku.
England may not be bringing it home but Gareth Southgate’s side have restored pride to a nation damaged by years of underperforming. A third-place finish would be the Three Lions’ second-best ever at the World Cup, behind only the 1966 triumph and ahead of Paul Gascoigne and company in 1990.
After a narrow defeat to France on Tuesday, Belgium may feel they have missed a golden opportunity to clinch their first crown. However, Roberto Martinez’s side still have a chance of securing their best-ever World Cup finish with a victory today.
Hello and welcome to this live text commentary of the World Cup third place play-off between Belgium and England in Russia.