Home Football English Football Belgium Top Group G, But Will Defeated Opponents England Be The Happier Side?

Belgium Top Group G, But Will Defeated Opponents England Be The Happier Side?

Belgium saw off England in Kaliningrad on Thursday night to claim top spot in World Cup Group G with maximum points.

Both sides made a number of changes for the decider as both had already secured a place in the last 16. There was also a sense that both Roberto Martinez and Gareth Southgate would not have been overly upset to lose this match, given the presumed difference in difficulty between the two different pathways through the knockout stages.

A largely uneventful match, and one that had all the hallmarks of both sides going through the motions, was interspersed with moments of quality but offered little insight into either team going forward.

(l-r) Moussa Dembele of Belgium, Marcus Rashford of England during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group G match between England and Belgium at the Kalingrad stadium on June 28, 2018 in Kaliningrad, Russia(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

The main moment of quality, when it finally did come, arrived courtesy of a player who, in another time, could actually have been playing for England. Adnan Januzaj, the former Manchester United wonderkid whose time in the Premier League fizzled out before he quietly departed for Real Sociedad, curled a well-hit strike past Jordan Pickford to give Belgium what would turn out to be the winner early in the second half.

The Red Devils have emerged as group winners, with a clash against Japan in the last 16 their reward for their efforts. England, meanwhile, have got what they wanted in terms of the result and group standings – but they should be careful what they wish for, as they now have a tougher task in the form of Colombia awaiting them in the knockout stages.

About Simon O'Keeffe