Adnan Januzaj scored a stunner to help guide Belgium to a 1-0 win over England in their final Group G encounter on Thursday night.
Talk of the group’s permutations and where would be the best place to finish dominated the pre-match buildup. This clearly made an impact on the managers, who both decided to make widespread changes.
As a result, the tempo of the first half lacked any real pace or intensity with the only chance falling to Michy Batshuayi, who had his toe poke cleared off the line by Gary Cahill.
It was 0-0 at the break with the fans inside the stadium showing their discontent after a dull half of football, where both teams showed a lack of ambition.
The game then opened up when Belgium took the lead six minutes after the restart. Januzaj picked up the ball and cut inside, he then sold Danny Rose with a clever dummy and sent his shot curling past Jordan Pickford and into the top corner.
England were forced into action and were more adventurous as Marcus Rashford went close. The Manchester United man was slipped through on goal by Jamie Vardy but had his shot saved by the fingertips of Thibaut Courtois.
Try as they might, Gareth Southgate’s men couldn’t find a way to goal as The Red Devils held on for the 1-0 victory.
Belgium finish top of the group and will face Japan in the last 16, while England finish runners-up and will come up against Colombia.
In the other Group G fixture:
Tunisia came from a goal down to beat Panama 2-1 in the group’s dead rubber. Panama took the lead in the first half when a shot deflected off Tunisia’s Yassine Meriah and found the back of the net. Second-half goals from Fakhreddine Ben Youssed and Wahbi Khazri then turned things around for the North Africans, who leave Russia on a winning note.
You may also like