Here’s your third place side. Bigger things await them. Will 2020 see them lifting their first piece of silverware?

Full-time: BELGIUM 2-0 ENGLAND It was a complete performance from Belgium, completing a double over England in the World Cup. Kane was once again subdued but he will walk away with the golden boot unless Griezmann or Mbappe get four goals in the final.

England were overrun in midfield and were toothless going forward. That goal-line clearance from Alderweireld was one of the best defensive moments we witnessed during the tournament. Lukaku had a poor outing but De Bruyne and Hazard were back to business after an odd day against France. Onto the final now. This is England’s joint second best finish in the showpiece event. As for the Red Devils, it is their best-ever finish.

90’ Witsel bosses the English midfield with a surging run but can’t find Hazard on the end of it. He also gets a yellow.

88’ England have a good spell on the ball and once again, they do little with it. It harmlessly rolls into the hands of Courtois.

84’ Hazard could have put his side 3-0 ahead as space opened up for once again. He deliberated on his pass before slipping it to De Bruyne, whose shot was blocked.

81’ GOAL! ENGLAND 0-2 BELGIUM (HAZARD) That was easy. De Bruyne once again splits the defence open with a pick-up and through ball that went past the English defence. Hazard went past Jones like he was a training cone and smashed the ball home.

77’ WHAT A SAVE from Pickford. Belgium’s move from the edge of the English area was simply outstanding. There were atleast four one-touch passes

75’ YELLOW for Maguire. The defender goes into the book for excessive protests. There was a shout for a penalty after Loftus-Cheek made a dart in the Belgium box. To be fair, Vertonghen once again did a solid job of shielding his man.

73’ Maguire comes close with a header. Tripper’s floating ball was first-rate and the defender’s effort came close to levelling things but the ball went just wide of the post. Maguire got a fair amount of power on it too.

72’ No shortage of silly fouls today by Belgium. Witsel puts in a boot on Lingard’s chin and England get a free-kick from a promising position.

69’ OUTSTANDING GOAL-LINE CLEARANCE FROM ALDERWEIRELD. Dier ran into plenty of open space on the right and chipped the ball over the advancing Courtois. The Tottenham defender, running backwards slides and clears it out.

67’ Dier finds space and takes a shot from 25 yards out. It was on the carpet and Courtois once again has little trouble pouching it.

64’ Belgium had a promising counter-attack that was developing. De Bruyne and Mertens were exchanging passes but the former’s final ball just about eluded the Napoli midfielder.

61’ Stunning saving tackle by Delph. Hazard’s tricky feet set the right wing-back through on goal. Just as he was going for a shot, the England left-back kept his side in the game with sliding block.

Lukaku comes off and in comes Dries Mertens

55’ Once again, Lukaku fails to control the ball after De Bruyne threads a ball behind the English defence. Pickford collects it. The Belgian striker has had three such chances.

53’ Close again. England continue to push the Belgium defence back. Lingard smashes a volley towards the top corner. It nearly fell kindly to Kane at the goalmouth. All the English captain needed to do was nod the ball home.

52’ Hazard causes all kinds of problems to Stones on the counter. The referee has a word with the English defender he scythes him down twice in three seconds.

50’ CLOSE. Superb defending from Vertonghen after the England right-back swings in a wicked ball. The Tottenham player puts a foot in boots the ball behind for a corner.

48’ Trippier steps up again as England get a free-kick on the right wing, 25 yards from goal.

47’ England have a lengthy spell on the ball around the Belgium area. The attack, though, comes to dead with Courtois cutting out a Trippier cross.


ENGLAND 0-1 BELGIUM Belgium have certainly been the better of the two sides. England have lacked bite going forward and like the Croatia game, Kane has been left isolated. Meunier’s goal was well-taken and the Red Devils came close scoring even after that. England need to come out firing.

45’ Terrific defending by Stones. Lukaku was one-on-one against the Manchester City centre-back. The striker cut outside and took a shot but it was expertly blocked by Stones.

42’ Hazard goes on a mazy run and opts to go for a quick shot to surprise the English defence but it bounces off the wall.

38’ Belgium continue to consolidate. England, meanwhile, can’t find a way through the Red Devils midfield. There is a visible lack of creativity in the final third for Southgate’s team.

Naser Chadli goes off after what looks like a muscle pull. In comes Thomas Vermalen.

34’ WHAT AN EFFORT! The corner was going nowhere before Alderweireld put a foot in with a backflick, one legged. It went just over the bar.

33’ Hazard comes close with a shot from the edge of the box but Stones puts a foot in on time and the ball goes out for a corner. That was heading goalwards.

30’ It’s been a tight midfield battle after the match took off at a breakneck pace. Belgium do have the ball at the moment.

26’ Meunier once again makes a darting run down the right flank and delivers a cross, which was well directed but Lukaku was atleast a yard away from from it.

22’ OHH! Kane comes into the game for the first time. Sterling controls the ball expertly, Kane takes a first-time shot from the edge of the area and it goes just wide.

18’ England come close with a header. Maguire heads one on target from a corner but it falls kindly to Courtois.

15’ Ohhh! That was close. Lukaku continues to get into dangerous positions and here, he nearly runs onto a through ball.

13’ Kompany keeps a check on Kane but Loftus-Cheek gets a header on goal, which Courtois has no problem collecting. This is England’s first attempt on goal so far.

11’ SAVE! Pickford saves the day for England once again. Lukaku from the right tries to thread the ball past a heap of red shirts. What looks like a harmless ball somehow finds its way to De Bruyne’s feet near the goal off a deflection. The Manchester City winger’s shot also ricochets off the defensive wall before Pickford palms it away.

9’ England get a free-kick from 35 yards out. The cross is floated in by Trippier to the back post and the ball harmfully rolls out of play.

7’ Belgium attack again as Lukaku gets space to run into on the right. He plays in De Bruyne, whose back-heel can’t find one of the three men who were waiting in the box.

6’ England apply pressure but nothing comes off it as Kompany clears a Trippier cross.

4’ GOAL!! ENGLAND 0-1 BELGIUM (Meunier) That came out of nowhere! Fabulous work from Chadli on the left. He flicked the ball onto Lukaku, received the pass on the by-line and delivered an inch-perfect cross to Meunier, who tapped the ball home. What a start for Belgium!

2’ England try to sneak into English penalty area but nothing comes off it. Both teams resorting to long balls for the moment.

7:27 pm: We are ready for kick-off. Lot’s of Premier League talent on display.

7:23 pm: The players are making their way onto the pitch.

No third-place match has ended goalless

Italy and England also played an entertaining tie in 1990.


Turkey and South Korea played out a five-goal thriller in 2002. Hakan Sukur scored the fastest goal in World Cup history:


Here’s a glimpse of Januzaj’s screamer from the group stages:


7:06 pm: The highest scorer in a Third Place Play-Off match is France legend Just Fontaine, who bagged four goals against West Germany in 1958.

7:03 pm: This is the tenth all-European Third Place Play-Off. after those in 1934, 1958 and 1966, followed by every edition between 1982 and 1998 as well as the most recent one in 2006.

7:00 pm: England are also playing their second Play-Off for Third Place, after losing the 1990 consolation match 2-1 to Italy.

6:50 pm: Head to Head: The teams have already faced each other 22 times and England have much the better record with 15 victories to Belgium’s two, plus five draws. Their most recent engagement was in the group stages, which ended 1-0 in favour of Belgium following an Adnan Januzaj goal.

06:43 pm: Here’s how Belgium and England are expected to lineup tonight...

(Graphics: @FIFAWorldCup)

06:36 pm:

  • The pair’s other previous engagements in the Fifa World Cup (before the group stage game this year) both went into extra time. In 1954 they fought out a 4-4 stalemate in Basel that remains the highest-scoring draw in the event’s history, together with Colombia-USSR in 1962. The next skirmish, in the Round of 16 in 1990, was only decided by a 119th-minute David Platt goal that clinched a 1-0 victory for the Three Lions.

06:32 pm:

  • The teams have already faced each other 22 times and England have much the better record with 15 victories to Belgium’s two, plus five draws. Their most recent engagement was in the group stage of this year’s global showpiece, which ended 1-0 in favour of Belgium following an Adnan Januzaj goal. Here’s hoping tonight’s game is a much better contest that one.

06:21 pm: Here’s the head-to-head between the two teams, no doubt who has the upper-hand historically. But Belgium should start tonight’s game as the favourites.

06:13 pm: Huzzah, the teams are in. And, good news, all the big guns are starting. Hazard, Lukaku, KdB, Kane, Sterling are all playing. No Lingard and Alli for England though, who have opted for a slightly more conservative lineup than Belgium

(Graphic: @FIFAWorldCup / Twitter)

06:05 pm: England manager Gareth Southgate admitted the challenge of preparing for the bronze medal game has been tough, saying he would make changes.

“It won’t be exactly the same starting XI but ideally we want to make as few changes as possible,” he said. “We have the chance to win a medal at the World Cup, which only one other English team has ever done.”

06:00 pm: Roberto Martinez praised the “winning mentality” of captain Eden Hazard, with Real Madrid reportedly mulling a move for the Chelsea star after the World Cup. Hazard has been one of the players of the tournament as Belgium reached the semi-finals for the first time since 1986, before losing 1-0 to France.

The 27-year-old’s future is uncertain at Stamford Bridge, where manager Antonio Conte was finally sacked on Friday after falling out with the board and senior players last season.

Real are said to be considering Hazard as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo after the five-time Ballon d’Or winner joined Juventus this week.

“He’s one of the most complete footballers in the modern game,” Martinez said on the eve of Belgium’s third place play-off against England in Saint Petersburg. He’s probably one of the best footballers in one-v-one situations. He brings that understanding of how to break defensive systems down. I think the biggest aspect I can tell you that not many people can know is his incredible personality and his leadership. For a footballer who lives in the box and to score goals, he’s someone who never drops his standards.”  

— Martinez on Hazard

Hazard has won the Premier League title twice with Chelsea, in 2014-15 and 2016-17, since joining from Lille six years ago.

“He’s someone who’s got a winning mentality and he can play in any demanding team or club around the world,” added Martinez.

“As a footballer now with the maturity he has, you can build a winning project around him.”

05:52 pm: Kane has the chance to become just the second England player after Gary Lineker in 1986 to win the Golden Boot, joining luminaries such as Brazil’s Ronaldo, Germany’s Gerd Mueller and Portugal’s Eusebio.

Kane, 24, came into the tournament after another prolific season for Spurs and started with a bang, scoring two goals in his first match against Tunisia and a hat-trick against Panama.

But he failed to find the net against Croatia in Wednesday’s semi-final as England agonisingly let a 1-0 lead slip to lose 2-1.

Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku has four goals in Russia, with the French pair of Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe both on three.

05:45 pm: Hello all and welcome to The Field’s live blog of the third-place playoff game between Belgium and England. This is the 63rd match of Russia 2018. There are just two matches left. TWO MATCHES! Oh, what will we do from Monday.

Anyway, we are getting ahead of ourselves. There’s a bronze medal starting in 105 minutes from now.

A gut-wrenching 2-1 loss to Croatia after extra-time denied England a shot at a second World Cup triumph, instead setting up a consolation game against familiar foes Belgium.

Roberto Martinez’s side, who were beaten 1-0 by France in the last four, topped Group G ahead of England after an Adnan Januzaj goal settled a low-key encounter in Kaliningrad.

That game saw both coaches heavily rotate their teams, and a somewhat similar scenario is likely in Saint Petersburg, with several fringe players pushing for a start.