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De Bruyne & Kompany shine as Belgium finish third

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England sad

Belgium claimed the bronze medal at the World Cup in Russian Federation after beating England 2-0 in the third-place play-off in St Petersburg on Saturday.

Beating Belgium on Saturday would give England their best World Cup finish since then, surpassing fourth place in Italy in 1990.

Belgium bookended the game with goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard to achieve their best-ever result in the tournament.

"We are better than England", he told reporters at a press conference, as reported by Reuters. When these teams met in the dead rubber of the group stages they rotated heavily.

They wanted to play the safe pass, while Belgium moved the ball from their defence to attack at a frightening pace, driven by the fantastic Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne.

England coach Gareth Southgate made five changes to face Belgium, but Danny Rose and Fabian Delph made little impact while Dier started slowly but threatened in the second half.

This flowing, expressive, exceptionally talented Belgium side have been touted as potential world-beaters for some time and, with members of their ranks the wrong side of 30, they will arguably be ruing that missed shot at football's biggest prize more than others.

The match had been billed as a shoot-out between Kane and Lukaku, with the Belgian, on four goals, needing to score three without reply to go ahead of Kane.

With so many Premier League players involved today, the game should be emminently watchable even if the pace is likely to be more inline with a preseason friendly than a World Cup.

Belgium, who beat England 1-0 in a group match in the tournament, were more risky throughout a lively first half.

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Belgium and England meet for the second time in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and this time the game is nearly as meaningless as their first meeting with only 3rd place on the line.

England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, so impressive all tournament, stopped a candidate for goal of the finals on 80 minutes as he stretched to keep out a thumping Meunier volley after a lightning Belgian counter-attack.

The match, which Belgium won 2-0, gives the country a third-place finish in the tournament.

Belgium, meanwhile, have kept largely with their strongest team as manager Roberto Martinez aims to end the tournament on a high. He has hugged the touchline on both wings throughout the World Cup.

50th minute, 1-0 Belgium: England needs more from captain Harry Kane. The Chelsea man scored two and made two while his Manchester City compatriot weighed in with one goal.

Belgium: Courtois 7, Alderweireld 7, Kompany 7, Vertonghen 7, Meunier 8, Witsel 6, De Bruyne 9, Tielemans 7, Chadli 5, Lukaku 6, Hazard 9.

The Tottenham striker remains the overwhelming favourite to win the Golden Boot with six goals, although he admitted his frustration at failing to find the net in England's final three games.

"It shows we had a good group stage and scored a lot of goals".

The two replacements in Belgium's lineup were more effective.

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