Internationals

Match report: England 0-1 Belgium

First half

Not the most interesting in all honesty, but there were chances, however.

Youri Tielemans came close to scoring in the opening five minutes with an audacious strike which was met by an equally good save from Jordan Pickford.

Not longer after, Gary Cahill came to the rescue of Jordan Pickford who somehow managed to spill the ball with an important goal line clearance. That would’ve been an embarrassing goal to concede!

Marouane Fellaini was the next recipient to have a chance at from not long out, but his effort was blocked by Trent Alexander-Arnold. It was important the young defender had stayed put there!

Overall, the first half was rather mediocre, not too many REAL chances. Hopefully, the second half would be better…

 

Second half

(The only substitute at the break was Harry Maguire coming on for John Stones)

England started with a warning to Belgium when Marcus Rashford came close to scoring, but didn’t quite get his bearings right as curled hs effort just outside the target.

With 51 minutes gone, the spark the game needed came from Adnan Januzaj whose strike beat Jordan Pickford to give his side the lead. What a strike it was too! Following the goal, Michy Batshuayi got himself into a bit of bother, but we’ll talk about that later…

Rashford presented himself with another opportunity at goal, but failed to finish as he attempted an adventurous chip, but failed to net the target, again! That was worse than the last one!

It seemed wherever Rashford aimed for goal, he just couldn’t quite hit the target, as he also failed to equalise from a decent free kick into the last 10 minutes.

Late into the game, Pickford made a fine save from a Dries Mertens strike! He’s made some good saves during the tournament so far!

The final effort of the game came from Fellaini, with his effort hitting the side netting.

1-0 Belgium is how it finished to hand England their first defeat of the tournament.

 

Thoughts on the game

Before I get into the game, I’ll say this. There were debate about whether it would be better for England to lose this game in order to earn a supposedly “easier” route to the final. That is nothing short of disrespectful, and its clear nothing was learnt from Euro 2016.

To suggest England supposedly lost on purpose for that reason is completely abhorrent.

On the game itself, Belgium stuck it to England with a solitary goal from Januzaj. The was the spark the game needed! There was a comedy moment afterwards when Michy Batshuayi was celebrating the goal, he kicked the ball off the post which rebounded, and hit him square in the face! That was rather funny!

 

Next game

With the round of 16 stage complete, England face group H winners Colombia, and Belgium face group H runners-up Japan.

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