World Cup Recap: Third Place

Belgium takes bronze with 2-0 win over England

The World Cup is down to one game. Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

The third place match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup took place on Saturday. Belgium and England, the two teams who advanced out of Group G, faced off for the bronze medal.

Belgium 2-0 England

Saint Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg
Attendance: 64,406

After feeling out of the game in the opening minutes, Belgium connected on a counter attack to take the lead just four minutes in. Thomas Meunier was the goalscorer that gave Belgium leverage. England generated opportunities to get back in the match but their struggle was to get quality shots on target. Maguire did not get enough power to his header on a corner in the 20th minute while Kane was less than clinical on a 23rd minute opportunity. Belgium and England were about even on first half opportunities, with the goal being the difference.

England’s better opportunities in the second half came through the air but would struggle to find the target. The Three Lions were the more proactive side, understandably so given the deficit. In the end, quality was the answer and Eden Hazard iced the match with Belgium’s second goal in the 82nd minute.

Belgium records highest World Cup finish

After missing out on the final, this is a positive for Belgium. It’s a consolation prize for a talented side that feels they could have had a better finish to this tournament. Even so, the history books will show that this was the most successful side at a FIFA World Cup. It will be interesting to see if Vincent Kompany calls it a career with the national team - what would be the international retirement of a legend. The next focus for this team will be the European Championship in two years.

England finishes fourth, matching their counterparts at Italy 1990

England would have liked to have taken third place but it really would not have made a difference. What this English side did do, however, is regain confidence in the national side. Hopes of a World Cup would not be so farfetched now - if approached correctly. This young side will gain experience and Euro 2020 will be a great test to see their growth ahead of the next World Cup, Qatar 2022.

Notable stat: Thomas Meunier is Belgium’s 10th different goalscorer, matching the record for number of scorers by a single team in a single edition of the tournament.

Programming notes:

Soccer Matters with Glenn Davis will be broadcasting from The Gorgeous Gael (5555 Morningside Dr. Houston, TX 77005) with a two-hour LIVE show, airing on ESPN 97.5 FM, following the 2018 FIFA World Cup final.

2018 FIFA World Cup Final (All Times CT):

Sunday, July 15

10 a.m. - France vs. Croatia (FOX, Telemundo)

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