England lose World Cup third place play-off to Belgium
LINE-UPSBelgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen, Meunier, Chadli (Vermaelen 39), Tielemans (Dembele 78), Witsel, De Bruyne, Hazard, Lukaku (Mertens 60)Subs not used: Mignolet, Casteels, Boyata, Dendoncker, Fellaini, Carrasco, T. Hazard, Januzaj, BatshuayiEngland: Pickford, Stones, Jones, Maguire, Trippier, Rose (Lingard 45), Dier, Delph, Loftus-Cheek (Alli 84), Sterling (Rashford 45), KaneSubs not used: Walker, Henderson, Vardy, Butland, Welbeck, Cahill, Young, Alexander-Arnold, PopeFrance take on Croatia in the World Cup final on Sunday – a game you can listen to live on talkSPORT from 4pm. 5 MOMENT OF THE MATCHIt had the feel of a testimonial match with both teams undoubtedly still hurting from missing out on a place in the World Cup final but there was a magical Belgian counter-attack which lit up the spectacle.Had Pickford not kept out Meunier’s volley it would have been a genuine contender for goal of the tournament and we’ve seen many brilliant strikes at Russia 2018. Belgium were deserved winners of the third place play-off 5 England came close to equalising when Harry Kane fired a shot just wide of the post after good work by Raheem Sterling.After the break, Kane just failed to get on the end of Jesse Lingard’s cross as England searched for a goal.Eric Dier’s lovely dinked effort was cleared off the line by Tottenham team-mate Toby Alderweireld midway through the second-half as Gareth Southgate’s men knocked on the Red Devils’ door more and more.England fans rave about Eric Dier during third place play-off 5 5 Meunier’s goal got England off to the worst possible start 5 Clearly suffering from their semi-final blues, England started poorly and were behind inside four minutes when Meunier got in front of Danny Rose to tap home a deflected cross from the left.The Three lions nearly went two-down moments later but Jordan Pickford did well to save a deflected strike from Kevin De Bruyne. Meunier was the star performer of the game It was a disappointing way for England to finish their World Cup campaign Dier came the closest to scoring for England However, Roberto Martinez’s side were always a threat on the counter and a wonderful move was nearly rounded off with a spectacular goal but Meunier’s volley was well stopped by Pickford.Belgium did get their second on 82 minutes when Hazard latched onto De Bruyne’s incisive through ball before stroking the ball into the net to kill the tie.STAR MANHow different it could have been for Belgium if Meunier was playing in their semi-final defeat to France, but the PSG man was suspended.Today he was eligible to play and got the ball rolling for his side with an early goal. Meunier was a nuisance for England all day and could have had a second goal but Pickford saved his stinging volley. England were unable to finish their successful World Cup campaign with a flourish after going down to a 2-0 defeat to Belgium in the third place play-off at St Petersburg.Strikes from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard either side of half-time sealed Belgium’s best ever performance at a World Cup finals.