The third place match of the Russia 2018 World Cup placed Belgium and England for slug it out for the bronze medal. Belgium came into the match firing on all cylinders and got on the front foot in the first few minutes as Meunier converted Chadli’s cross who latched on to Lukaku’s pass.
England never really threatened to find a way back as Belgium made it difficult for them, dictating all play throughout the first half. Pickford was on hand to save from De Bruyne and gathering from Lukaku’s heavy touch to keep the score at 1-0 as the game went into half time.
England were out in the second half to find a way back into the game. Belgium still had other ideas and still took hold of play with few glimpses from the English. Headers wide, Belgian blocks and notably Alderweid clearing Dier’s chip over Courtois from the line summes up England’s chances in the game.
Belgium soon snuffed out any hopes of an English equalizer as Hazard latched unto De Bruyne’s pass to beat Pickford at the near post to clinch the bronze medal.
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With a semi-final spot up from grabs, the quarter finals began with a France and Uruguay match. Uruguay who saw off Portugal were without Cavani whose two goals sent them to this round. Both teams were bright in the first few minutes of the opening half.
Uruguay were at their usual style of sitting back and allowing the opponents dictate play and France didn’t shy from the opportunity to step up to the occasion as they tried to break down the Uruguayan defence. The breakthrough for France came from a Greizmann freekick headed in by Varane. Uruguay tried to get the equalizer before the break but to no avail as Lloris made a brilliant stop from Caceres’s header before Godin blasted wide as the match went into half time.
The second period of the game saw Uruguay out with all intent to find a way back with Cavani’s replacement Stuani taken off for Maxi Gomez as they sought for fresh legs up front. France were soon two up from a Muslera error as he mishandled Greizmann’s shot. France resisted all thrown at them by the Uruguayans to book the semi final ticket for the first time since 2006.
Brazil vs Belgium promised to be a mouthwatering clash and it lived up to the billing. Brazil were out of the blocks rapidly in the first exchanges but had no goal to hold to account. Belgium soon took the lead after Fernandinho turned the ball into his own net.
The lead was soon doubled as a Brazilian corner was found it’s way to Lukaku to start a counter which he fed unto the path of De Bruyne whose low shot rifled past Allison in the Brazilian goal. Courtois was on hand as he made numerous saves to keep Brazil at bay and take the cleansheet into half time. Second half saw Firmino come on in place of Willian as Brazil sought a way back.
The Belgians seemed to have an answer for every attack the Brazilians brought forward and Courtois really stepping up to the occasion as he denied Brazil time and time again. Brazil soon pulled one back as Renato Augusto headed Coutinho’s chipped cross past a full stretched Courtois to bring hope into the Brazilian camp.
The hope was however too little too late as Belgium held on for a win and booked another mouth watering clash against France in the semis.
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