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985 vs. Belgium
Thursday, 28 June 2018
World Cup 2018 Finals First Phase Group G, Match Five/Six

England 0 Belgium 1 [0-0]

Stadion Kaliningrad, Oktyabrsky Island, Kaliningrad, Russia
Kick-off (KALT): 8.00pm 7.00pm BST

Attendance: 33,973.

England kicked-off 93 minutes 45:04 & 48:05 Match Summary
England Squad
Belgium Squad
  [0-1] Adnan Januzaj 51 50:04
curling strike from edge of area
  Youri Tielemens 19 18:49
Leander Dendoncker
33 32:07
Commentator: Clive Tyldesley with Glenn Hoddle

Match Summary

Officials from Slovenia



Referee (sky blue) Damir Skomina
41 (5 August 1976), Koper, FIFA-listed 2003.
Assistant Referees - Jure Praprotnik
, and Robert Vukan.
Fourth official - Mohammed Abdulla
Hassan Mohammed, 38 (2 December 1978), UAE, FIFA-listed 2010.
Reserve Assistant Referee - Momamed Alhammadi, UAE.
General coordinator - Jo Fernandes, Spain
Match commissioner - Janis Mezeckis, Latvia.
Video Assistant Referee - Artur
Manuel Soares Dias, 38 (14 July 1979), Vila Nova de Gaia, Portugal
Assistant Video Assistant Referees
- Roberto Diaz, Spain, Paweł Gil, Poland and Mauro Vigliano, Argentina
13 Goal Attempts 15
1 Attempts on Target 4
0 Hit Bar/Post 0
7 Corner Kicks Won 2
3 Offside Calls Against 1
11 Fouls Conceded 14
47% Possession 53%

England Team



FIFA (7 June 2018) =12th
EFO ranking Group 3
ELO rating 4th to 9th
Colours: The Nike 2018 home uniform - White v-necked jerseys with red trim on collar, dark blue shorts, white socks.
Capt: Eric Dier, fourth captaincy Manager: Gareth Southgate, 47 (3 September 1970), appointed caretaker manager on 27 September 2016, appointed as permanent manager on 30 November 2016.
21st match, W 12 - D 6 - L 3 - F 35 - A 14.
England Lineup
1 Pickford, Jordan L. 24 7 March 1994 G Everton FC 6 4 GA
22 Alexander-Arnold, Trent J., off 79th min 19 7 October 1998 RWB Liverpool FC 2 0
3 Rose, Daniel L. 27 2 July 1990 LWB Tottenham Hotspur FC 20 0
4 Dier, Eric J.E. 24 15 January 1994 CM Tottenham Hotspur FC 28 3
5 Stones, John, injured off 46th min. 24 28 May 1994 CD Manchester City FC 29 2
15 Cahill, Gary J. 32 19 December 1985 LD/CD Chelsea FC final app
61 5
21 Loftus-Cheek, Ruben I. 22 23 January 1996 RAM Chelsea FC 7 0
16 Jones, Philip A. 26 21 February 1992 RD Manchester United FC 26 0
19 Rashford, Marcus 20 31 October 1997 LF/
Manchester United FC 21 3
17 Delph, Fabian 28 21 November 1989 LAM Manchester City FC 13 0
11 Vardy, Jamie R. 31 11 January 1987 RF Leicester City FC 24 7
England Substitutes
scoreline: England 0 Belgium 0
6 Maguire, J. Harry, on 46th min. for Stones 25 5 March 1993 LD Leicester City FC 8 0
scoreline: England 0 Belgium 1
14 Welbeck, Daniel N.T.M., on 79th min. (78:11) for Alexander-Arnold 27 26 November 1990 LF Arsenal FC 40 16
result: England 0 Belgium 1

unused substitutes:

2-Kyle Walker, 7-Jesse Lingard, 8-Jordan Henderson, 9-Harry Kane, 10-Raheem Sterling, 12-Kieran Tripper, 13-Jack Butland, 18-Ashley Young, 20-Dele Alli, 23-Nick Pope.

team notes:

Manager Gareth Southgate played against Belgium in the October 1999 friendly victory. He had been a squad member in the pre-World Cup Finals warm-up match in May 1998.
Trent Alexander-Arnold becomes the fourth teenager to play for England at the World Cup Finals.
3-5-2 Pickford -
Jones, Stones
(Maguire), Cahill -
(Welbeck), Loftus-Cheek, Dier, Delph, Rose -
Vardy, Rashford
notes: When Maguire replaced Stones, he took Cahill's position, with Cahill going into centre.
Welbeck replaced Rashford in the forward line as Rashford replaced Alexander-Arnold on the right wing.

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 25.2 Appearances/Goals 21.6 1.8

Belgium Team



FIFA (7 June 2018) 3rd
EFO ranking
Group 3
ELO rating
6th to 4th
Colours: Made by Adidas - Red v-necked jerseys with darker red Adidas side trim and red/yellow/black argyle patterned chest band, red shorts with darker red Adidas side stripe, red socks with darker red Adidas trim.
Capt: Thibaut Courtois Coach: Roberto Martínez Montoliu, 45 (13 July 1973, in Balaguer, Spain), appointed 3 August 2016.
nineteenth match, W 14 - D 4 - L 1 - F - A -
Belgium Lineup
1 Courtois, Thibaut N.M. 26 11 May 1992 GK Chelsea FC, England 61 45 GA
23 Dendoncker, Leander 23 15 April 1995 LD RSC Anderlecht 6 0
Dendoncker cautioned in the 33rd min. for a unsporting behaviour, after he this time tripped Danny Rose close to their penalty area.
3 Vermaelen, Thomas, off 74th min. 32 14 November 1985 RD FC Barcelona, Spain 67 1
20 Boyata, A. Dedryck 27 28 November 1990 CD The Celtic FC, England 10 0
22 Chadli, Nacer 28 2 August 1989 RWB West Bromwich Albion FC, England 47 5
19 Dembélé, Moussa S.Y. 30 16 July 1987 RM Tottenham Hotspur FC, England 78 5
17 Tielemens, Youri 21 7 May 1997 RF AS Monaco FC, France 12 0
Tielemens cautioned in the 19th min. for a unsporting behaviour, after he tripped a sprinting Danny Rose
8 Fellaini-Bakkioui, Marouane 30 22 November 1987 LM Manchester United FC, England 84 17
16 Hazard, Thorgan G.F. 25 29 March 1993 LWB Borussia VfL 1900 Mönchengladbach eV, Germany 13 1
18 Januzaj, Adnan 23 5 February 1995 LF Real Sociedad de Fútbol SAD, Spain 9 1
21 Batshuayi-Atunga, Michy 24 2 October 1993 CF Chelsea FC, England 18 8
Belgium Substitutes
scoreline: England 0 Belgium 1
4 Kompany, Vincent J.M., on 74th min. (73:58) for Vermaelen 32 10 April 1986 CD Manchester City FC, England 78 4
14 Mertens, Dries, on 85th min. (84:13) for Januzaj 31 6 May 1987 F SSC Napoli SpA, Italy 72 15
result: England 0 Belgium 1

unused substitutes:

2-Tobias Alderwiereld, 5-Jan Vertonghen, 6-Axel Witsel, 7-Kevin De Bruyne, 9-Romelu Lukaku (injured), 10-Eden Hazard, 11-Yannick Carrasco, 12-Simon MIgnolet, 13-Koen Casteels, 15-Thomas Meunier,

team notes:

The Lukaka's are brothers, as are the Hazard's.
3-4-3 Courtois -
Dendoncker, Boyata, Vermaelen
(Kompany) -
T.Hazard, Fellaini, Dembélé, Chadli -
(Mertens), Batshuayi, Tielemans

Averages (Starting XI):

Age 26.3 Appearances/Goals 36.8 3.4


    Match Report by Mike Payne

It was pretty much expected that manager Gareth Southgate would make changes for, what was effectively a ‘dead rubber’ against Belgium in this final group match.  Both teams had already qualified for the knockout stage, and the only thing left to settle was who would finish top and who would finish second?  When the teams were announced it was as expected, although maybe not to the extent it was.  This match was labelled England reserves v Belgium’s reserves with both sides making many changes!

It was a poor game in many ways and there were glimpses of the old, frustrating England, as the players failed to gel.  Belgium were the better side, but not that much better, and England’s fans were left rather deflated at the end.

England started positively though and in the second minute Jamie Vardy latched on to a poor back pass and drilled a low and hard centre into the goalmouth.  Chelsea goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, had to kick the ball away in desperation, but it was a promising attack.  Unfortunately though, England could not build on that moment and it was the Belgians who went close four minutes later.  Nobody closed down Youri Tielemens and the number 17 fired in a dipping shot which Jordan Pickford saved at full stretch but could only parry the ball back out into the danger area, instead of over the bar where it should have gone.  Belgium were looking dangerous when they attacked and Marouane Fellaini was a constant threat.  On ten minutes he headed the ball down in the goalmouth, and following a scramble only a clearance off the line by Gary Cahill saved the day.

England came back and forced several corners.  Trent Alexander-Arnold took over the Kieran Trippier role of dead ball kicker, but nothing substantial came from these kicks.  However, from one good cross from the Liverpool man, Vardy headed wide as England searched for a breakthrough.  Both teams seemed to be playing a similar style and in many ways it was a typical Premier League match.  England did look for the long ball over the top a bit more often than they had in their previous games, but none of the passes were good enough.  Belgium incurred the wrath of the referee on a couple of occasions with Fellaini badly fouling Ruben Loftus-Cheek and then Tielemens was booked for a foul on Danny Rose.  That booking could have proved crucial if the scores had stayed level.

As the half progressed things began to hot up with both sides creating chances.  Alexander-Arnold’s free-kick was scrambled away and then John Stones did well to block a shot by Michy Batshuayi, and following a scramble Alexander-Arnold blocked another Belgian shot.  There was no lack of effort from the England players, just nothing like the urgency of their previous outings.  Eric Dier chose to pass instead of having a shot, Marcus Rashford tried to burst through and then Loftus-Cheek and Alexander-Arnold played a one-two, but again the cross was poor and came to nothing.  Leander Dendoncker was the second Belgian player to be booked, for another foul on Rose, and on 34 minutes Loftus-Cheek headed a corner narrowly wide.  At the other end Fellaini was the obvious target for Belgium and he always caused the England defenders problems  But the deadlock was not broken before the break and the players went off with a goalless scoreline.

It seemed that something was missing from all areas of England’s play, but the bigger picture had to be recognised and it was valuable game time for the players on the fringes.

At the restart Southgate brought on Harry Maguire for Stones, who had taken a knock, and the half opened with plenty of Belgian possession.  However, Vardy quickly nipped in to win the ball and send Rashford away with a chance.  He tried to curl a shot wide of Courtois, but it also curled wide of the far post.  With five minutes of the half gone, Belgian took the lead.  Poor defending by England allowed former Manchester United player Adnan Januzaj the freedom to cut inside and unleash a left-foot shot into the far top corner.  It was a good finish but England made it easy for him.

England came again and Loftus-Cheek burst inside to be brought down.  The free-kick though, not for the first time, was wasted.  After 55 minutes Januzaj went close again after a quick breakaway, and at this point Belgium were in control of the match with England showing very little.  When the ball did go into the Belgian area there were far too often just a single England player making an effort to get there.  Having said that, Rashford had a golden chance to equalise on 66 minutes.  Vardy again spotted the opening and Rashford was clean through one-on-one with the keeper.  He had an option of a tap to his right for Loftus-Cheek to have an open goal, but instead Rashford went for the shot and Courtois managed to touch it behind when really he should have had no chance.

Danny Welbeck came on for Alexander-Arnold and Rashford shot over when he tried a free-kick.  Welbeck then had a clear chance blocked and several times Rose worked the ball down the left for a good cross only to find nobody on the end of it.  And Rose was unlucky when a quick free-kick found Welbeck in a good position, but he was caught out by the speed at which the ball came to him.  Belgium had two more chances in the last couple of minutes when first Dries Martens tried a shot which Pickford again patted back into the danger area.  Luckily he got away with it, but that is something he must work on surely?  Fellaini then hit the side-netting when cutting in from the left.  The game petered out after that and England had to be content with the runners-up spot.  That may not be so bad, but it would have been nice for us to beat the Belgians.

We now go on to face Colombia, with hopefully our full-strength team back in place.  It is possible to sort of understand what Southgate was trying to do with all the changes, only time will tell, but it was difficult to be positive after, what was in effect a poor performance which ended a long unbeaten run for England.  The one thing that was definitely worth reporting though, was the way both teams played fairly and without the histrionics seen in many of the other group games.  For once in this tournament the referee had an easy game.

Source Notes

BBC Sport
Mike Payne - football historian and contributor