It may not be how either team had envisioned it, but Belgium and England are playing in the final weekend of the World Cup.
Just one goal separated each team from their respective opponents, which will hopefully be enough motivation for the two countries to end their tournament campaign on a high note.
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On an individual level, the race for the Golden Boot is still on. Harry Kane still leads all World Cup goal-scorers with six goals, but Romelu Lukaku isn’t too far behind with four. The hat trick might be a tall order under normal circumstances, but England’s defense couldn’t stand tall enough to stop the dead legs of Croatia from putting two past them. Of course, if the Red Devils give the Three Lions a penalty, that award will be all she wrote and some World Cup hardware will be heading home.
With reasons for both sides to compete, surely this match will be more exciting than the teams’ earlier meeting in the final game of the group stage.
Sporting News has you covered with live highlights, score updates and more.
Belgium vs. England live: World Cup highlights
47′ — Loftus-Cheek almost takes it on his own! A last-ditch slide from a Belgian defender forces a goal kick.
46′ — SUBSTITUTION: Sterling OFF, Rashford ON; Rose OFF, Lingard ON (England)
And we’re back!
HALFTIME: Belgium 1, England 0
45′ + 2′ — Lukaku goes one-on-one with John Stones to double his team’s lead before halftime, but the shot is ultimately blocked. The ref blows the whistle before the corner gets taken, in a rare move.
45′ + 1′ — Loftus-Cheek with England’s closest chance in quite some time, but a heavy touch leads the ball right to Courtois’ hands.
45′ — Two minutes of injury time.
44′ — Belgium appear to be trying for one more goal before the half. England seem happy to absorb the pressure until the whistle.
39′ — SUBSTITUTION: Chadli OFF, Vermaelen ON (Belgium)
38′ — Belgium push England to force a corner.
36′ — Another counter for Belgium gives England a scare, but the defense closes down on Eden Hazard, who couldn’t get a shot off. Nacer Chadli is down with an injury.
34′ — Belgium finally break on an attack, but Eden Hazard’s shot is blocked. The ensuing corner was a training ground play, but Alderweireld shot goes over the bar.
33′ — England and Belgium have been trading possession with neither team threatening much. England do not seem as cool, calm and collected as Belgium do in their passes.
28′ — Meunier fed a dangerous cross to the box as Pickford was off his line. But no one was at the end of it.
23′ — Harry Kane will have to wait just a bit longer to extend his goal-scoring total this tournament. Eric Dier feeds Sterling with a beautiful chip, who passes it to Kane at the top of the box. Kane’s shot goes wide.
19′ — Another close chance for England. Sterling with a chance to cross it inside while in the box, but the pass gets deflected out of bounds for a corner. Harry Maguire’s attempt off the corner goes right to Thibaut Courtois.
I personally hope the jokes never stop.
Gareth Southgate should been canny and got England to beat Croatia to ensure they avoided Belgium in the third and fourth play-off
— James Corrigan (@jcorrigangolf) July 14, 2018
17′ — Lucky for England! Romelu Lukaku had a great opportunity at goal in the box, but a heavy touch moved the ball right to the feet of Pickford.
15′ — Close for England! A great service from outside of the box finds Loftus-Cheek open in the box, but the ball lands right in the hands of Courtois.
12′ — Belgian counter-attack builds up to give Kevin De Bruyne a chance inside the box, but the shot gets deflected by a defender and Jordan Pickford.
11′ — Raheem Sterling with a chance outside the box, but the shot gets blocked.
9′ — Almost a second for Belgium! The counter attack builds up so nicely, but a Kevin De Bruyne backheel was timed poorly and reached England’s defense.
4′ — GOAL BELGIUM (1-0)! Classic Belgium starting the counter-attack and outpacing England’s defense for an early lead! Thomas Meunier scores.
Belgium take the early lead!
Chadli’s cross finds Meunier in the box for a tap in to put the Red Devils up 1-0. pic.twitter.com/vyyeu06brC
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) July 14, 2018
1′ — And we’re off!
Gary Lineker would like to remind you that the English arrogance was all an elaborate ruse, by the way, and in no way indicative of any actual beliefs of England winning the whole tournament.
Dear non English football fans.
Football’s coming home is a fun song highlighting the lack of success of our football team for decades. No one really thought we’d win it. I totally get why you might think it was arrogance, but it’s more our self deprecatory sense of humour. 👍🏻
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 14, 2018
In the words of Guardian writer, Paul Doyle, “Here come the national anthems, which, in many countries’ cases, tend to be more arrogant and offensive than any tune written by a pair of comedians.”
Belgium: Courtois; Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen; Meunier, Tielemans, Witsel, Chadli; De Bruyne, Lukaku, Hazard
Subs: Mignolet, Casteels, Vermaelen, Boyata, Dendoncker, Fellaini, Dembélé, Carrasco, T. Hazard, Mertens, Januzaj, Batshuayi
England: Pickford; Stones, Jones, Maguire; Trippier, Dier, Delph, Loftus-Cheek, Rose; Sterling, Kane
Subs: Walker, Lingard, Henderson, Vardy, Buland, Welbeck, Cahill, Young, Rashford, Alli, Alexander-Arnold, Pope
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