England have finished fourth in the 2018 World Cup after losing to Belgium in the third place play-off.
Despite the best efforts of the most successful England team in two decades, they were unable to overcome the Belgian side and lost 2 – 0.
Despite finishing fourth, Gareth Southgate’s incredible team can hold their heads high knowing they gave their all at this year’s tournament, and inspired a nation with their incredible performance.
The game marked the first time, since 1990, the England team have played in the third place play-off. During that fateful game, England battled Italy for third, but lost 2-1 after late goals from Roberto Baggio and Salvatore Schillaci.
England’s journey to the third place play-offs has been an interesting one.
It’d be fair to say no one expected much from England at this competition, but they proved the naysayers wrong and gave our island nation restored hope how we’re not sh*t at football, coming second in the group stages and making it all the way to the semifinals.
Not only that, they even shattered the well-deserved perception the England team are dreadful at penalties, when they beat Colombia in the last 16.
Unfortunately, everything came crashing down in the semifinals when a late equaliser from Croatia forced the game into extra time and the team buckled under the pressure.
This has been Belgium’s most successful World Cup since they finished fourth in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, where France defeated them 4-2.
Belgium looked exceptionally strong throughout this World Cup and many believed their ‘Golden Generation’ were favourites to win the tournament.
They managed to beat England to top Group G, came from behind in a tense second half to defeat Japan in the last 16, and overcame all the odds to knock-out Brazil in the quarter-finals.
The wheels sadly came of Belgium’s World Cup campaign though when they faced their old rivals, France. It was Samuel Umtiti who sealed Belgium’s fate with a second-half header, which secured France a place in the finals.
Unfortunately, Belgium’s time at the World Cup is over, but their fans will no doubt already be hoping they can recapture some of this magic four years from now in Qatar.
Tomorrow, (July 15), Croatia will face off against France at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow for the final game of the 2018 World Cup.
While the French side remain the favourites, the Croatian team are fighting for national glory. This is their first World Cup final and their victory over England has proven they’re hungry to win.
Could they triumph over Les Bleus and bring football home to Croatia? Well, it’s been a tournament of upsets so we’re not willing to rule anything out.
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