England’s Harry Kane and Belgium’s Mousa Dembele embrace at the end of the match. (REUTERS/Henry Romero)
ST PETERSBURG, July 14 (Reuters): Belgium finished third in the World Cup, their best-ever performance, when they beat England 2-0 with an early Thomas Meunier goal and a breakaway finished by Eden Hazard in Saturday’s playoff between the losing semi-finalists.
Meunier finished off a devastating move when he turned in Nacer Chadli’s low cross at the far post in the fourth minute after Romelu Lukaku’s pass sliced open the English defence.
Belgium, who beat England 1-0 in a group match in the tournament, were more dangerous throughout a lively first half. But England improved after the break and nearly equalised when Eric Dier got clear and chipped over Thibaut Courtois, only for Toby Alderweireld to make a sliding clearance off the line.
Belgium continued to threaten on the break and finished off the game when Kevin de Bruyne set Hazard clear and he swept his shot past Jordan Pickford.