Search

Rate the England team in their World Cup defeat to Belgium

PUBLISHED: 12:00 29 June 2018

Belgium's Adnan Januzaj scores his side's winning goal against England. Photo: Tim Goode/PA

Belgium's Adnan Januzaj scores his side's winning goal against England. Photo: Tim Goode/PA

PA Wire

Adnan Januzaj’s stunning goal secured a much-changed Belgium side a 1-0 win over England’s second string on Thursday evening and meant Gareth Southgate’s men will face Colombia in the last 16 of the World Cup.

What looked like being one of the ties of the group stage instead became a rather strange encounter given the talk about the most favourable knockout route, including suggestions that finishing runners-up may be preferable.

Southgate dismissed that before seeing his team suffer their first defeat in a year, with Januzaj’s superb effort six minutes into the second half securing a narrow victory which earned Belgium top spot in Group G and a last-16 tie against Japan.

The Three Lions will be hoping to win their first knockout match since 2006 in Moscow next Tuesday, when widespread changes are again on the cards after their squad players struggled against Roberto Martinez’s reserves.

Belgium made nine changes and England eight for the pool decider in Kaliningrad, where the teams were booed off after a tepid first half in which Gary Cahill and Trent Alexander-Arnold both cleared off the line.

Southgate’s men would have progressed as group winners through fair play had the scores remained level, but former Manchester United man Januzaj’s moment of magic turned the game in Belgium’s favour.

Marcus Rashford and substitute Danny Welbeck went closest to an equaliser on a night when Belgium’s second ever win in this fixture left England plotting their route to Moscow.

If England are to overcome Colombia next week, they will need to play far better than they did at the compact Kaliningrad Stadium.

In truth, neither side impressed once an open start tapered off.

Jamie Vardy saw an early driven cross unconvincingly stopped by Thibaut Courtois, before Jordan Pickford denied Youri Tielemans from distance.

It was a Hollywood save but at least it was a stop, whereas minutes later Cahill had to come to the Everton goalkeeper’s rescue to clear off the line after Michy Batshuayi’s attempt somehow squirmed through.

Cahill and Vardy headed wide for England as the tempo slowed, with Alexander-Arnold, making his second England appearance, hacking clear after Marouane Fellaini got a shot away that looked bound for the bottom corner.

There was not much else to talk about in a meek half that saw Belgium race ahead in the ill-discipline stakes, with Tielemans and Leander Dendoncker booked for fouls on Danny Rose.

And while Alexander-Arnold went close with a cross-shot and Ruben Loftus-Cheek headed wide, the locals had become restless.

Having whistled prolonged spells of purposeless Belgian possession, it was little surprise to hear the half-time whistle greeted by boos.

John Stones, pictured with a bandaged calf, was replaced by Harry Maguire for the second period, which was six minutes old when the neutrals finally had something to shout about.

Many English fans will not have seen Januzaj since slipping out of the Premier League as a Sunderland player, but he showed a flash of the outstanding skill that had once excited Manchester United supporters by following superb quick feet with a fine finish.

It saw Belgium take control of a match that England struggled to come back into.

Questions over Vardy and Rashford’s chemistry grew as they toiled, only once truly connecting well as the Leicester striker put the United forward through.

Courtois’ slight touch helped take Rashford’s shot wide and substitute Welbeck, the last outfield player to represent England at this World Cup, was denied by a Fellaini block.

That was the last real England threat as Belgium ended the night on top.

Late change Dries Mertens’ first-time strike forced a great save from Pickford and Fellaini smashed into the side-netting in stoppage time.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Bexley Times visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Bexley Times staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Bexley Times account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Bexley news

Friday, November 16, 2018

Christmas 2018 and the Northern Lights are welcomed to Bexleyheath on Saturday, November 17 with a spectacular mix of music and dance from stilt walkers to bhangra dancers, and acoustic artists to fire shows.

Friday, November 16, 2018

Now back from recording the second series of All Together Now, Brit School teacher and Bromley local Georg Tormann is now warming up for Christmas with his Beckenham-based choir.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

A Bexley artist has raised her concerns that a revamp of Hall Place will see the death of the art scene in the area.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Wildlife enthusiasts are calling for “embarrassing” fly-tipping that is blighting marshland in Bexley to be cleared up.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas expressed concerns that an energy park in Bexley will lead to “toxic fumes” billowing across the Thames to the Rainham and Beam Park development area.

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

A Bexleyheath pub will be offering free gin and tonic today, in exchange for a very unusual currency - cake.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Cash-strapped Bexley schools have been writing to parents asking for money for supplies, according to a councillor.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford David Evennett was the guest of honour and speaker at an Armistice and Remembrance Commemoration held at the Bexleyheath Conservative Club on Sunday (November 11).

Most read news

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Bexley Times e-edition today
E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

Bexley Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Show Job Lists

Family Notices 24