Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard struck at either end of their Play-off for Third Place with England to secure bronze at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ – their best-ever performance at the global finals.
Belgium began superbly. Early pressure quickly turned into an early goal, with Meunier nipping in behind Danny Rose to tuck Nacer Chadli’s cross past Jordan Pickford. Dominant and lively, they looked set to extend that lead until England regained their composure, dulling the incisive swipes of the Belgians’ passing as the half wore on.
Gareth Southgate’s side gritted their teeth and began to dominate possession either side of half-time, probing for openings in the final third. While these were not plentiful, they looked the more likely to score, though the spectre of a Belgian counter loomed throughout.
Eric Dier saw his cute, dinked effort hooked off the line by Toby Alderweireld in their best opportunity of the day, with Hazard sealing bronze on the break. Kevin De Bruyne slipped him in superbly and the final result was never in doubt as the Belgium captain tucked away assuredly.
Man of the Match
Often spear-heading the charge forward on the break, Eden Hazard, capped off a typically menacing display with a goal to add a captain’s seal on what is a historic campaign for the Red Devils.
10 – Thomas Meunier’s goal saw Belgium’s tenth name adorn the score sheet in Russia. No other team has had more, equaling France in 1982 and Italy in 2006.
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