Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne pick England apart as Belgium win bronze
Belgium got off to a dream start with Thomas Meunier scoring after just four minutes to fire the Red Devils to an early lead.
While Belgium probably should have grabbed a second before half-time, they ultimately weren't punished, as England's second-half fightback proved fruitless before Eden Hazard clinched the bronze with a well-taken goal on the counter.
Belgium have 10 different goal scorers at a single World Cup. Excellent start to grab an early lead. Eden Hazard was -- again -- an absolute joy to watch.
Belgium had it more difficult in the second half, but they survived.
The injury to Nacer Chadli after 36 minutes also put a bit of a damper on the day.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Roberto Martinez is a big fan of Monaco midfielder Youri Tielemans, who got his big chance against England. Looks like there is no room going forward for Dries Mertens and Marouane Fellaini. His substitutions had low impact.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Thibaut Courtois, 7 -- Now the most capped Belgian goalkeeper ever with 65. Best goalkeeper during the World Cup in this writer's opinion. Made five saves here and was trustworthy -- like he was all tournament.
DF Toby Alderweireld, 8 -- Had a volley go just over Jordan Pickford's bar. Miraculously cleared an opportunity from Eric Dier off the goal line. Great effort. Useful headers. Very competent again.
DF Vincent Kompany, 6 -- Good defending on a low cross in front of the goal. Showed his talent with a back-heel on a corner. Missed his tackle on Dier. Had to deal with a lot of headers at the end.
DF Jan Vertonghen, 6 -- Had it difficult with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but survived.
MF Thomas Meunier, 7 -- Scored his first goal of the World Cup after only four minutes. Great effort and made Danny Rose suffer during the first half. Had a great volley saved by Pickford in the second half or he would have had a second.
MF Youri Tielemans, 7 -- The big surprise of this "little final". Had a shot from distance blocked but did well in a controlling role. He was very strong in the first half and was substituted after 78 minutes.
MF Axel Witsel, 6 -- Hardworking. Involved in many counterattacks. Not the most popular Belgian Red Devil, but very useful in Martinez' tactics.
MF Nacer Chadli, 7 -- Assisted the first goal by Thomas Meunier after only four minutes. Went off injured after 36 minutes with what looked like a hamstring ailment.
FW Kevin De Bruyne, 8 -- Two thumbs up for KDB's performance! Forced a great save from Pickford at his near post. Constantly tortured England defence with marvellous passes between the lines and assisted on Eden Hazard's insurance goal.
FW Romelu Lukaku, 5 -- No Golden Boot for the Manchester United striker who fluffed a few chances here. Unlucky with a few first touches that could have seen him alone to score and was substituted after 60 minutes.
FW Eden Hazard, 9 -- A real threat to England's defenders all match. Very mobile and a joy to watch. One of the best players in Russia with three goals. Took his goal superbly and was the unquestioned man of the match. Unstoppable.
MF Thomas Vermaelen, 5 -- Replaced the injured Nacer Chadli in the first half. Hardworking performance.
MF Dries Mertens, 5 -- Came on for Lukaku and was poor with his passing and missed a shot wide. Could have scored.
MF Mousa Dembele, N/R -- No impact in the last minutes of the game after coming on for Tielemans.