England finish fourth at World Cup after defeat by Belgium

Saturday 14 Jul 2018
England players applaud the fans in St Petersburg

England finished fourth at the 2018 FIFA World Cup following a 2-0 defeat by Belgium.

Thomas Meunier broke the deadlock early on and Chelsea forward Eden Hazard sealed the win with a cool finish on 82 minutes.

And here are five talking points from the third-place play-off in St Petersburg:

Belgium’s fast start

Belgium had the luxury of an extra day’s rest following their semi-final loss to France and they made a brighter start, going ahead after just four minutes.

Belgium 2-0 England
  • FIFA World Cup
  • Match for third place
  • Saturday 14 July
  • Saint Petersburg Stadium, Russia
The move was started by Thibaut Courtois and the ball was worked out to West Brom midfielder Nacer Chadli on the left.  He crossed to the back post and Meunier nipped ahead of Danny Rose to prod home from close range.

Dier denied

For a split second it looked like Eric Dier would bring England level with 20 minutes remaining… until his Tottenham club mate Toby Alderweireld intervened.

Dier played a one-two with substitute Marcus Rashford, on for Raheem Sterling, and clipped an effort over the advancing Courtois. The ball seemed destined for the net, but Alderweireld had other ideas and slid in to clear off the line.

Dier came within a whisker of equalising

Hazard warning

Belgium’s starting 11 contained eight players who are employed by English clubs and one of these Premier League regulars clinched the bronze medal for his nation.

After Dier saw his effort hooked away by Alderweireld, Hazard punished England further by converting the second goal following a Belgium counter-attack.

Record-breaking tournament

The Three Lions achieved a number of notable landmarks at Russia 2018:

  • The memorable second-round win over Colombia was England’s first-ever success in a World Cup penalty shoot-out. It was also the first win in the knockout stages of a major tournament since 2006.
  • Harry Kane hit a hat-trick as England racked up their biggest win at a World Cup – the 6-1 thrashing of Panama in the group stage.
  • Kane became the first England player to score in his first three World Cup matches and he is now in line to be the first Englishman to win the Golden Boot since Gary Lineker in 1986.

The future’s bright

England’s run to a first World Cup semi-final since 1990 lifted the whole country – but this is just the start of the journey.

Southgate’s 23-man squad was one of the youngest at the tournament and many of the players will be around for the next few years.

And there is a raft of players in the development teams who now have experience of winning major tournaments at youth level. England are world champions at U17s and U20s level and European champions at U19 level, not to mention the U17s' Euro success in 2014.

Lewis Cook holds aloft the FIFA U20 World Cup

Next up for England is the UEFA Nations League opener against Spain at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 8 September.

And you can be there to welcome home Southgate’s squad. Join the England Supporters Club for free and you'll get ticket priority and other great offers.

England (3-5-2): 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton); 16 Phil Jones (Manchester United), 5 John Stones (Manchester City), 6 Harry Maguire (Leicester City); 12 Kieran Trippier (Tottenham Hotspur), 21 Ruben Loftus-Cheek (Chelsea), 4 Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), 17 Fabian Delph (Manchester City), 3 Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur); 9 Harry Kane (capt; Tottenham Hotspur), 10 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City).

Substitutes: 7 Jesse Lingard (Manchester United) for Rose 46, 19 Marcus Rashford (Manchester United) for Sterling 46, 20 Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur for Loftus-Cheek 84.

Substitutes not used: 2 Kyle Walker (Manchester City), 8 Jordan Henderson (Liverpool),  11 Jamie Vardy (Leicester City), 13 Jack Butland (Stoke City), 14 Danny Welbeck (Arsenal), 15 Gary Cahill (Chelsea), 18 Ashley Young (Manchester United), 22 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), 23 Nick Pope (Burnley).

Bookings: Stones, Maguire

Manager: Gareth Southgate

By Glenn Lavery