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World Cup 3rd Place Game Results 2018: Belgium Celebration Highlights, Reaction

James Dudko

Belgium finished third at the 2018 FIFA World Cup after beating England 2-0 in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Goals from Thomas Meunier and Eden Hazard were enough to seal the country's highest finish at a World Cup.

England went behind after just four minutes when Romelu Lukaku played in Nacer Chadli down the left. The winger hung a teasing cross over for right-back Meunier to prod home.

U.S. viewers can see the goal and the celebration on Fox:

Meanwhile, audiences in the UK can watch it on ITV Football:

It was a first international goal for Paris Saint-Germain defender Meunier, who celebrated with the provider:

There was another factor to Meunier's goal, one that underlined the impressive attack-minded and stylish collective game the Red Devils have played during the tournament:

As the half lurched on, England began to grow into the match but lacked enough cutting edge up top. It didn't help that Raheem Sterling couldn't get in behind, although the Manchester City winger wasn't aided by the right kind of passes from midfield.

The bigger issue was how far off the pace centre-forward Harry Kane appeared. England's main source of goals couldn't involve himself in the play:

England tried to up both the pace and quality after the break. Chances followed, but Belgium remained a major threat on the break, thanks largely to Kevin De Bruyne's astute distribution through midfield.

The Manchester City schemer picked more than one smart pass between the lines:

De Bruyne was enjoying releasing Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens on the counter, but England's players were increasing the pressure at the other end. The Three Lions missed a great chance when Harry Maguire headed just over.

An even better opportunity prompted some magnificent last-ditch defending from Toby Alderweireld, who cleared off the line on the stretch to deny Tottenham Hotspur team-mate Eric Dier:

The reprieve proved significant because Belgium iced the game and third place eight minutes from time. Hazard got the goal after completing a swift and slick break, with De Bruyne typically pulling the strings:

It was all Belgium needed to end England's creditable World Cup campaign on a down note. By contrast, the Red Devils had acquitted themselves wonderfully in a tricky fixture where pride is the ultimate and meaningful reward.

However, there was at least a piece of history for the celebrating victors:

It was an achievement worthy enough to prompt high praise from progressive coach Roberto Martinez:

Unlike an England side appearing out of energy, Belgium seized the moment to sign off the from the tournament in style.

While they couldn't go all the way, a competition-leading 16 goals is a fitting testament to the enterprising and entertaining brand of football the Red Devils played on the watch of Martinez.


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