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Saturday, 14 July 2018
2018 FIFA World Cup Finals Third-Place play-off match

Belgium 2 England 0 [1-0]

Krestovsky Stadium (Saint Petersburg Stadium), Krestovsky Island, Saint Petersburg, Russia
Kick-off (MSK): 5.00pm 3.00pm BST.
Attendance: 64,406

Romelu Lukaku kicked-off 95 minutes 46:57 & 48:07  
[1-0] Thomas Meunier 4 3:37
 6-yard tap in from a Nacer Chadli cross
[2-0] Eden Hazard 82 81:27
 8-yard placed shot from a Kevin De Bruyne pass
Alex Witsel 90+3 92:59
John Stones 52 51:06
Harry Maguire 76 75:32
Commentator: Sam Matterface with Glenn Hoddle  

Match Summary

Officials from Iran Belgium Squad Type England Squad
Referee (black)
Alireza Faghani
40 (21 March 1978), Kasmar, FIFA-listed 2008.
12 Goal Attempts 15
4 Attempts on Target 5
Assistant Referees 0 Hit Bar/Post 0
Reza Sokhandan
44 (24 January 1974)
Mohammedreza Mansouri
40 (23 April 1978)
4 Corner Kicks Won 5
Fourth official
Malang Diedhiou
45 (30 April 1973), Senegal
Reserve Assistant Referee - Djibril Camara, Senegal; General coordinator - Michael Boys, Chile; Match commissioner - Amaju Pinnick, Nigeria.
1 Offside Calls Against 0
11 Fouls Conceded 5
43% Possession 57%

Video Assistant Officials  
Mark Geiger
United States
Assistant Video Assistant Referees - Bastian Dankert, Germany, Joe Fletcher, Canada and Paolo Valeri, Italy

Belgium Team



FIFA (7 June 2018) 3rd
EFO ranking
Group 3
ELO rating
Colours: Made by Adidas - Yellow jerseys (multi-toned squared pinhoops) with black crew-neck collars and black/red Adidas trim on shoulders, black shorts, yellow socks with black/red Adidas trim.
Capt: Eden Hazard Coach: Roberto Martínez Montoliu, 46 (13 July 1973, in Balaguer, Spain), appointed 3 August 2016.
23rd match, W 17 - D 4 - L 2 - F - A -
Belgium Lineup
1 Courtois, Thibaut N.M. 26
64 days
11 May 1992 GK Chelsea FC, England 65 49ᵍᵃ
2 Alderwiereld, Tobias A.M. 29
134 days
2 March 1989 RD Tottenham Hotspur FC, England 83 3
4 Kompany, Vincent J.M. 32
95 days
10 April 1986 CD Manchester City FC, England 82 4
5 Vertonghen, Jan B.L. 31
81 days
24 April 1987 LD Tottenham Hotspur FC, England 108 9
most apps
15 Meunier, Thomas 26
305 days
12 September 1991 RWB Paris Saint-Germain FC, France 30 6
quickest ever WCF goal
17 Tielemens, Youri, off 78th min. 21
68 days
7 May 1997 RCM AS Monaco FC, France 13 0
6 Witsel, Axel L.A.L. 29
183 days
12 January 1989 LCM
Tianjin Quanjian FC, China
93rd min. after he refused to retreat from a halfway line England free-kick.
Chadli, Nacer, injured off 37th min. (36:30) 28
346 days
2 August 1989 LWB West Bromwich Albion FC, England 50 6
De Bruyne, Kevin 27
16 days
28 June 1991 RF Manchester City FC, England 68 15
9 Lukaku Bolingoli, Romelu M., off 60th min. 25
62 days
13 May 1993 CF Manchester United FC, England 75 40
most gls
Hazard, Eden M. 27
188 days
7 January 1991 LF Chelsea FC, England 92 25
Belgium Substitutes
scoreline: Belgium 1 England 0
3 Vermaelen, Thomas, on 39th min. (38:21) for Chadli 32
242 days
14 November 1985 RD FC Barcelona, Spain 69 1
14 Mertens, Dries, on 60th min. (59:57) for Lukaku 31
69 days
6 May 1987 CF SSC Napoli, Italy 75 15
19 Dembélé, Moussa S.Y., on 78th min. (77:45) for Tielemans 30
363 days
16 July 1987 RCM Tottenham Hotspur FC, England 80 5
result: Belgium 2 England 0
unused substitutes: 8-Marouane Fellaini, 11-Yarrick Carrasco, 12-Simon Mignolet, 13-Koen Casteels, 16-Thorgan Hazard, 18-Adnan Januzaj, 20-Dedryck Boyata, 21-Michy Batshuayi, 23-Leander Dendoncker.
3-4-3 Courtois -
Alderweild, Kompany, Vertonghen -
Meunier, Tielemans
(Dembélé), Witsel, Chadli (Vermaelen) -
De Bruyne, Lukaku
(Mertens), E.Hazard
Averages (Starting XI): Age 27 years 275 days Appearances/Goals 69.3 10.5


England Team


FIFA (7 June 2018) =12th
EFO ranking Group 3
ELO rating 9th
Colours: The Nike 2018 away uniform - Red v-necked jerseys with a shadowed St. George's flag, white shorts, red socks.
Capt: Harry Kane ¹²
11th, W 6 - D 2 - L 3 - F 20 - A 13.
Manager: Gareth Southgate, 47 (3 September 1970), appointed caretaker manager on 27 September 2016, appointed as permanent manager on 30 November 2016.
25th match, W 13 - D 7 - L 5 - F 39 - A 19.
England Lineup
1 Pickford, Jordan L. 24
129 days
7 March 1994 G Everton FC 10 9ᵍᵃ
16 Jones, Philip A. 26
143 days
21 February 1992 RD Manchester United FC 27 0
final app 2011-18
5 Stones, John 24
47 days
28 May 1994 CD
Manchester City FC
52nd min. for a foul, after he dragged back Eden Hazard on the halfway line.
6 Maguire, J. Harry 25
131 days
5 March 1993 LD Leicester City FC
76th min. after he complained to the referee for failing to award England a free-kick.
12 Trippier, Kieran J. 27
298 days
19 September 1990 RWB Tottenham Hotspur FC 13 1
21 Loftus-Cheek, Ruben I., off 84th min 22
172 days
23 January 1996 RM Chelsea FC 8 0
4 Dier, Eric J.E. 24
180 days
15 January 1994 CM Tottenham Hotspur FC 32  3
17 Delph, Fabian 28
235 days
21 November 1989 LM/
Manchester City FC 15 0
3 Rose, Daniel L., off half time 28
12 days
2 July 1990 LWB Tottenham Hotspur FC 23 0
9 Kane, Harry E. 24
351 days
28 July 1993 RF Tottenham Hotspur FC 30 19
the 119th player to reach the 30-app milestone
10 Sterling, Raheem S., off half time 23
218 days
8 December 1994
in Kingston, Jamaica
LF Manchester City FC 44 2
England Substitutes
scoreline: Belgium 1 England 0
19 Rashford, Marcus, on half time for Sterling 20
256 days
31 October 1997 LF Manchester United FC 25 9 3
7 Lingard, Jesse E., on half time for Rose 25
211 days
15 December 1992 RM Manchester United FC 18 11 2
scoreline: Belgium 2 England 0
Alli, Bamidele J., on 84th min. (83:28) for Loftus-Cheek
94 days
11 April 1996
Tottenham Hotspur FC 30 21 3
the 120th player to reach the 30-app milestone
result: Belgium 2 England 0
unused substitutes: 2-Kyle Walker, 8-Jordan Henderson, 11-Jamie Vardy, 13-Jack Butland, 14-Danny Welbeck, 15-Gary Cahill, 18-Ashley Young, 22-Trent Alexander-Arnold, 23-Nick Pope.
records: This is also England's 100th Finals match. W 39 - D 32 - L 29 - F 131 - A 99..... and their fiftieth competitive defeat (WC & EC only).
team notes: Gareth Southgate becomes the first manager since Alf Ramsey to have managed England against Belgium twice, after a run of seven fixtures under seven different managers.
Manager Gareth Southgate played against Belgium in the October 1999 friendly victory. He had been a squad member in the pre-World Cup Finals warm-up match in May 1998.
3-5-2 Pickford -
Jones, Stones, Maguire -
Trippier, Loftus-Cheek
(Alli), Dier, Delph, Rose (Lingard) -
(Rashford), Kane
notes: Lingard replaced Delph, as Delph replaced Rose, for the second-half
Averages (Starting XI): Age 25 years 176 days Appearances/Goals 22.5 2.5
youngest ever WCFinals XI
    Match Report by Mike Payne

England made five changes for this match against Belgium, to see who would win the right for third place in the tournament.  It is always a difficult match for any teams to contest, and perhaps they should consider doing what they do in Olympic boxing and present both beaten semi-finalists with a bronze medal?  Anyway the match went ahead in St Petersburg and Belgium, with their first attack, scored.

It came on four minutes after England had made a promising start.  Belgium, probably the best team on the breakaway in the tournament, swiftly broke down the left through Nacer Chadli, who outpaced Kieran Trippier, to run on to Romulu Lukaku's pass.  He centred for Thomas Meunier to get ahead of the daydreaming Danny Rose to convert a simple tap-in goal.  Very poor defending by England, but it was the sign of things to come.  On 12 minutes Belgium nearly scored again after another very quick break.  This time the ball fell to Kevin de Bruyne, and although his shot was deflected, Jordan Pickford managed to block the ball and it was cleared.

England tried to hit back and both Fabian Delph and Reuben Loftus-Cheek had efforts easily saved by Thibaut Courtois, but then, as play swung to the other end, de Bruyne threaded a pass through for Lukaku.  Thankfully the big striker's control let him down and Pickford was able to smother the ball.  England would have preferred it if Belgium's two world class stars, de Bruyne and Eden Hazard, had not turned on their form for this match, but unfortunately they both played superbly, giving England problems for the whole 90 minutes.

To be fair, England pushed forward at every opportunity and a good run into the box by the impressive Loftus-Cheek, won a corner.  England, in their well-rehearsed way, made good use of their corners and this time Harry Maguire's header was saved by Courtois.  On 24 minutes England had a golden chance to equalise and it fell to the one man you would want it to fall to, Harry Kane.  A fine long pass forward by Eric Dier, found Raheem Sterling, who laid the ball into the path of Kane.  The striker didn't quite connect with his shot though and the ball flew wide.  It needed to be on target at least, and that was very disappointing.

Sterling was often caught in possession by the determined Belgium defenders, and when the Belgians broke away, boy, did they break quickly.  From one such incident only a good block by Maguire stopped Youri Tielemens shot.  There were so many times during this game where an England attack ended with a Belgian attempt at our goal, so swift was the movement of this talented team.  Belgium also nullified the England wing-backs as both Trippier and Rose were ineffective going forward.  Sterling was often too deep leaving Kane with a thankless task up front on his own.  At the back John Stones was having another excellent game and he kept Lukaku quiet again following another breakaway.  The first half had been a difficult one for England as Belgium seemed to want the third place finish a little more.  They will be the same as England in many ways, as they too will regret losing their semi-final, especially as they were one of, if not the best, side in the competition.

The only hope was that England had played poorly in this first half, which was the opposite to their other games, where the second half was worse.  The hope was that this will be the other way round.  Sure enough England began the second half much more on the front foot.  By bringing on Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford for Rose and Sterling, Gareth Southgate livened up the forward options.  On 51 minutes England went close when Trippier's cross needed a clearance by Jan Vertonghen and two minutes later, after Stones had been booked for a foul on Hazard, it was England’s turn to break quickly, but Trippier's cross was again cut out.  On 54 minutes a quick throw let Lingard in on goal but his shot-cum-cross missed the far post and missed Kane's lunging foot.  Once again England could not make this better spell tell with a goal, something they need to work on. 

Meanwhile, de Bruyne was still running things, and another fine pass found Lukaku only for the striker's control to let him down again.  England were still battling away though, and there was a case for a penalty when substitute Thomas Vermaelen jumped into the back of Rashford to flatten him.  Dire then shot at goal from longer range, easily saved by Courtois, and then a minute later England had their clearest chance to date.  A fine move sent Dire clear on goal and as Courtois came out Dire dinked the ball over him only for his Tottenham teammate Tobias Alderweireld to race back and clear off the goalline.  It was another golden chance that England missed and it was to prove costly.  Trippier saw a free-kick cleared and then Lingard's ball in was headed wide by Dier, the third chance the Spurs player had missed.  The pressure on Belgium was building though and after Rashford was fouled Maguire headed wide from the free-kick.

All the time England were attacking they had to be aware of the counter-attack from Belgium.  One break saw three against two but another substitute, Dries Mertens shot wide from the chance.  In the 80th minute Belgium almost scored the goal of the tournament.  A wonderful break and some superb one-touch passes went from an England attack to the other end in seconds.  The ball was teed up for Meunier to fire in a shot but Pickford saved the day with an excellent save.  You had to admire the build up to that one though.

With ten minutes left, and England throwing everything forward, the inevitable happened.  Another fantastic breakaway led by de Bruyne, saw him pass to Hazard, catching Phil Jones on his heels.  Hazard was through and calmly slotted the ball past the helpless Pickford.  Talk about a lesson in the simplicity of scoring a goal.  However, that showed those two Belgian stars at their absolute best.

Dele Alli came on for Loftus-Cheek, but that was a killer goal, and only a fine tackle by the impressive Stones saved another chance for Belgium.  The match ended with Belgium in control and thoroughly deserving their win.  It was a better showing by England in the second half, but the worrying thing was they never really looked like scoring, whereas Belgium looked likely every time they went forward.

It was a tough end to what had been, overall, a good and enjoyable tournament for England, but there are so many things the team can still work on, and under Southgate, surely, they can only get better.  They produced some memorable moments in the competition, but all the talk of the players being 'heroes' was a little exaggerated, as let's face it, we played seven games and lost three of them!  There was lots to be proud of though, and much to build on.  Only time will tell where the team goes next.  The players would have learned so much from this World Cup and I'm sure it is exciting times ahead, let's hope so.

Source Notes

BBC Sport
Mike Payne - football historian and contributor