Belgium secured their best ever World Cup finish as goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard saw them beat England 2-0 to clinch third place in St Petersburg.
Meunier gave Roberto Martinez’s side a great start as he stabbed home a fourth-minute opener after both sides had named strong sides for the World Cup’s consolation game.
It was a trademark flowing move from Belgium but there was far too much space to play in the middle before Nacer Chadli fired in a cross from the left that Meunier converted as he got in front of a slightly napping Danny Rose.
Belgium looked by far the better side in the first half as they dominated possession and looked dangerous through Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.
Gareth Southgate made changes at half time and England were much better in the second 45 minutes, Eric Dier had his goal-bound effort cleared off the line by Tottenham team-mate Toby Alderweireld, while they again looked dangerous from set pieces.
Belgium always threatened on the break though and almost scored the goal of the tournament with a flowing one-touch move took them the length of the field before Meunier fired a powerful volley that Jordan Pickford fended away.
The Red Devils did manage to kill the game off eight minutes as Hazard got the wrong side of Phil Jones to sweep into the box and give Pickford the eyes to tuck the ball away at the near post to seal the victory.
- Belgium have registered their best finish at a World Cup tournament, finishing third and beating their previous best finish of fourth in 1986.
- England have lost three of their last five matches (W1 D1) – their previous three defeats came over a period of 28 matches.
- The Three Lions lost back to back matches for the first time since June 2014, when they were beaten by Italy and Uruguay at the 2014 World Cup.
- This was England’s 100th match at a major tournament (69 at the World Cup, 31 at the European Championships). They have won 39, drawn 32 and lost 29 of those matches.
- Since 1966, no player has been involved in more World Cup goals for Belgium than Eden Hazard (7, 3 goals and 4 assists), level with Jan Ceulemans (4 goals, 3 assists).
- England lost three matches at a major tournament for only the second time, also losing three times at Euro 1988.
- Thomas Meunier was the 10th different player to score for Belgium at the 2018 World Cup – the joint-most scorers by a team at a World Cup tournament (also 10 for France in 1982 and Italy in 2006).
- Harry Kane ended the 2018 World Cup with six goals from six shots on target – however, he had just one shot on target in his final four World Cup matches, doing so from the penalty spot against Colombia.
- This was only the third time that England have lost two matches in a calendar year against the same opponent, also losing twice against Wales in 1936 and twice against Italy in 1973.
- England had as many shots on target in this match as they managed in their previous three knockout matches combined (6).