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 Romford Recorder 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 Romford Recorder 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 Romford Recorder 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 Romford Sports News

46 minutes ago

It was the fighting spirit of Romford’s very own ‘Dinosaur’ Michael Barnard that saw him through a marathon see-saw first round tie with Jose De Sousa at the William Hill PDC World Darts Championship at Alexandra Palace.

The NR F1 Podcast reviews the 2018 Formula 1 season – with Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes top of the pile, plus some exiting developments awaiting in 2019.

Everyone Active Raiders extended their winning streak in National League Division One to five matches after a tense and tetchy contest with the Wildcats.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

First-half goals from Snodgrass and Antonio settle matters for Hammers

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Tom Potter saw red on another disappointing day for Romford as a heavy defeat at the hands of Heybridge sent them closer to the foot of the table.

Saturday, December 15, 2018

FA Trophy: Ebbsfleet United 0 Dagenham & Redbridge 1

Friday, December 14, 2018

Everyone Active Raiders head coach Sean Easton wants his side to maintain their momentum as they welcome Swindon Wildcats to Romford’s Sapphire Ice & Leisure Centre on Sunday (5.30pm).

Friday, December 14, 2018

Boro without a win in their last nine league matches, including a 2-0 loss at Witham Town last weekend

PROMOTED CONTENT

From November, The Mercury in Romford begins to celebrate Christmas. The mall has plenty of gift ideas, fun events and activities for everyone

Vauxhall has completed its sport utility vehicle range with the third, and largest, Grandland X. We put the SUV, now available at Tony LeVoi in Romford, to the test.

“The time to repair the roof is when the sun is shining,” so the saying goes. So if some warm weather is making your conservatory uninhabitable, think about replacing its roof with a flat one and adding a roof lantern instead.

Newsletter Sign Up

Romford Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read sport

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

News from your area

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Romford Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now