Belgium’s ‘Red Devils’ pick up the bronze medals

Belgium’s ‘Red Devils’ pick up the bronze medals
Eden Hazard (L) of Belgium celebrates with teammates after scoring the 2-0 lead during the FIFA World Cup 2018 third place soccer match between Belgium and England

by Graeme Jackson

Saturday Jul 14, 2018. 18:07

Belgium claimed the bronze medals at the 2018 World Cup after they defeated England 2-0 in the third-place playoff at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg on Saturday.

The ‘Red Devils’ scored their goals through Thomas Meuneir and Eden Hazard to claim the bronze medals and secure a second win over the ‘Three Lions’ at Russia 2018.

Belgium got off to a flyer and claimed the lead in the fourth minute. Romelu Lukaku’s fine pass gave Nacer Chadli the space to cross from the left and pick out Thomas Meunier, who got ahead of Danny Rose and stabbed the ball home from close range.

England took their time to establish themselves in the match, but midway through the first half they created a good chance to equalise, as Raheem Sterling teed up Harry Kane on the edge of the box, but the captain skewed his shot wide of the mark.

The ‘Red Devils’ suffered an injury blow late in the half as Nacer Chadli succumbed to what appeared to be a hamstring strain and was replaced by veteran Thomas Vermaelen, while the ‘Three Lions’ opted for a double change at the interval and introduced both Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.

England looked the more enterprising team through the second half and in the 70th minute only a great piece of defending denied them an equaliser: Eric Dier went clean through on goal and chipped the ball over Thibaut Courtois, only for Toby Alderweireld to make a brilliant clearance off the goal line.

Ten minutes later Belgium put together a superb passing move which ended with Meunier looking to score his second goal, but his stinging volley was well saved by goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to keep England in contention.

Yet the ‘Red Devils’ were not to be denied: Kevin De Bruyne put Eden Hazard in on goal and the forward out-sprinted Phil Jones before sliding a low shot past the ‘keeper to make it 2-0 and seal a third-place finish.

Belgium (1) 2 (Meunier 4’, Hazard 82’)

England 0

Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen, Chadli (Vermaelen 39’), Witsel, Tielemans, Meunier, Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku (Mertens 60’)

England: Pickford, Jones, Stone, Maguire, Trippier, Loftus-Cheek (Alli 84’), Dier, Delph, Rose (Lingard 46’), Sterling (Rashford 46’), Kane

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