Belgium beats England to claim third place in the World Cup

Jack Butland

After Belgium dispatched England and wrapped up third place, their best ever finish at a World Cup, attention has now turned to the club futures of some of their star players, most notably Eden Hazard.

Third place for England would have been the nation's second-best performance at a World Cup, and the best on foreign soil.

It is Belgium who will take home bronze medals as goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard rubber-stamped their superiority after their "B" side had already beaten England's in the group stages.

Ahead of this summer's World Cup, Hazard said that Real Madrid "know what they need to do" to sign him, admitting he could be interested in a move to the Bernabeu. For Martinez, it's about salvaging "that winning feeling" despite the disappointment among players and fans of a team that had been a fashionable pick to win it all until they failed to score against France. 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.

For Belgium and their "golden generation", numerous key players should return for the 2022 World Cup, even if Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen will probably be gone by then.

MF Thomas Meunier, 7 - Scored his first goal of the World Cup after only four minutes.

For Belgium and their "golden generation", numerous key players should return for the 2022 World Cup, even if Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen will probably be gone by then.

"England obviously gave a shocking goal away, sloppy, lazy defending".

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Southgate said England's dramatic improvement since Euro 2016, which ended with a humiliating defeat by Iceland in the last 16, was down to the FA's backing.

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In the end, the changes that Roberto Martínez had to make for the semifinal-inserting Mousa Dembélé, who was disappointing-were a downgrade from having Meunier available.

"Certainly after this World Cup".

"Today shows there's room for improvement".

50th minute, 1-0 Belgium: England needs more from captain Harry Kane. 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.

Great cross for the opener and had looked threatening down the left, but had to go off just before half-time with a muscle injury. "To be able to finish third, the best finish for the Belgian national team, would be an achievement we salute more than individual awards".

Belgium were eliminated by France in the World Cup semifinal, while England blew a 1-0 halftime lead to lose 2-1 to Croatia, as the Daily Mail reported, on a goal in extra time by Mario Mandzukic.

Lukaku then passed up an opportunity, failing to control after being put clear by Kevin De Bruyne, exactly as he had done from a similar De Bruyne pass in the first half.

It will also give captain Harry Kane a chance to secure his place as the tournament's top scorer, and become England's first Golden Boot victor since Gary Lineker at Mexico 1986.

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