Belgium blanks England to claim 3rd place at World Cup

Belgium blanks England to claim 3rd place at World Cup

Belgium blanks England to claim 3rd place at World Cup

Belgium can take pride in achieving its best-ever finish in a World Cup, but unlike England, youth is not necessarily on this team's side.

The World Cup third place play-off kicks off on Saturday 14 July at 3pm at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.

The chance of a third-place finish should be enough to put fire in the bellies of both of these teams, but the truth is this game will lack any real edge after two energy-sapping semi-finals just a few days ago.

Third-place matches have often been high-scoring affairs, with at least four goals in every bronze medal game since 2002.

The two countries meet in the third-place playoff in St Petersburg this weekend and the defender is expected to be back in the lineup after missing the 1-0 semifinal defeat by France on Tuesday because of suspension.

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And it looked as though Dier was going to draw England level when he lifted the ball over Courtois, only for Alderweireld to race back to clear off the line.

The entire 23-man squad trained on the eve of their last outing in Russian Federation, including Kieran Trippier, who limped out of Wednesday's agonising semi-final defeat to Croatia with a "nerve problem" related to cramp.

The likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Danny Welbeck will be hoping to feature in today's game.

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Numerous players who were part of the clash against Croatia will still be recovering from the extra 30 minutes, as well as the emotion of the loss.

"Martinez said he expected both teams to make changes from their respective semi-final losses because of fatigue".

When the World Cup honours lists are compiled, Kylian Mbappe and Luka Modric will probably be ahead of Hazard for the best player award, but nobody else will. Hazard has outshone the likes of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Ronaldo at this tournament, so he can certainly reflect on Russian Federation 2018 as a personal success.

It will be a game that will provide several players with a chance to gain some vital game time at a World Cup.

"We've finished in the final four, but we're not a top-four team yet". It goes without saying that these fringe players will be eager to make a mark in a rare start. We don't want to give Belgium any help frankly.

"We've been here a month now since we arrived in Russian Federation, its been an incredible experience and everyone who has been a part of the Belgian team has performed in an incredible manner".

"One or two injuries, one or two with a bit of illness". Belgium are at their peak, we're nowhere near our peak now.

"I think there is a clarity about how England have been successful in this tournament. We had a moment against Japan where Romelu has the ball in the box, the last second of the game". "There's a lot talked about relationships between our two countries _ but on a personal level and mixing with the people of Russian Federation, we couldn't have been more welcome".

Meunier was the unlikely hero early on as his close-range finish in the opening exchanges denied England what would have been their best tournament result since lifting the trophy 52 years ago.

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