Belgium will face England in the World Cup 2018 Third Place Play-off on Saturday, 14 July 2018 at the Saint-Petersburg Stadium at 1600hrs (GMT +2)
As the World Cup draws to a close, we can all safely say that this tournament has been one of the most enthralling spectacles in modern football. The majority of games have been enjoyable and full of drama, exactly what you expect on the biggest stage of all. It’s where everyone wants to be, however, in the case of the two teams that contest the third place play-off on Saturday, they’d rather not be.
Belgium and England were knocked out at the semi-final stage and will hope to gain some pride for their country as well as a 3rd place finish. Belgium will want to give their devastated faithful something to cheer about following an incredible defeat to France. England, on the other hand, will count themselves unlucky to go out on extra time after looking the better side in a fairly dull contest against Croatia.
Although it is not a match both teams want to necessarily be a part of, there’s no doubt the pair will give it their all for their respective fans.
Belgium’s 1-0 defeat to the French was nothing short of disappointment and deeply exposed the frailties in an otherwise strong Belgium side. Several players failed to turn up and perform at level which would normally be standard for them. Lukaku and De Bruyne were poor on the day and only Hazard showed attacking intent but lacked support. The advantage for this match in a way is that it gives the Belgian team a chance to right a few wrongs and end the tournament on a positive note.
On the other hand, England will feel proud to have reached the semi finals after not so many neutrals gave them a chance. A 109th minute winner from Mario Mandzukic ended England hopes of reaching the Finals losing out 2-1 despite having gone ahead early in the match against Croatia. Coach Gareth South gate will certainly want to take a conservative approach to this important game as he has done throughout the Tournament. Having already lost against the same team in the group stages, Either way, England will want to finish off a decent tournament with a win against one the most talented teams in the tournament.
Belgium predicted XI: Courtois (gk), Kompany, Boyata, Alderweireld, Witsel, Fellaini, Meunier, Chadli, De Bruyne, Hazard (capt), Batshuayi
Injury concerns: None
England predicted XI: Pickford (gk), Cahill, Stones, Maguire, Rose, Alexander-Arnold, Dier, Loftus-Cheek, Dele, Lingard, Kane,
Injury concerns: Kieran Trippier, Jordan Henderson.
Harry Kane reportedly also suffered an injury but has declared himself fit to play.
England leads the head to head clashes in the 22 matches played between the two teams — England 15 wins, Belgium 2 wins, 5 draws
England and Belgium have faced off at the World Cup thrice before, in 1954, 1990 and this year in the group stages.
Belgium to win: 2.13
England to win: 3.17
Belgium and England to draw after 90 minutes : 3.82